KURO IWANAMI - HIRAGATA (handcrafted Matcha bowl)

(Please note: Because the wooden box for this item is created after you place your order, it takes approximately 3 weeks from the time you order this item until the date it is shipped from Kyoto, Japan. Once ordered, any change or cancellation can NOT be accepted. If you order this item with other items, they will be shipped together.)

diameter: 5.31 inch (13.5 cm) height: 2.55 inch (6.5 cm)
Sophisticated ANAGAMA pottery
Made by Yoshihiro Sako

KURO IWANAMI means waves crashing on black rocks in Japanese. This Matcha bowl is very avant-garde, yet it is based on traditional techniques, and created uniquely by the artisan, Mr. Sako. It is ideal for tea ceremonies, and holding it in both hands is inexplicably calming.

HIRAGATA means flat shaped Matcha bowl.

The soil called ZURINKO is taken from the ancient stratum of Biwa-ko, the largest freshwater lake in Japan. It is mixed with Shigaraki red clay from Shiga Prefecture. ZURINKO is rarely used in ceramics because of its brittleness and black color, which makes it difficult to handle. By using this clay, it is possible to obtain a metallic sheen, complex luster, and jet black color, which are quite rare to find in pottery.

KURO IWANAMI was intentionally warped asymmetrically, after being formed on the potter's wheel. This bowl is boldly and delicately carved out with a paddle. It is called SHINOGI. This SHINOGI has different widths and curves to create a unique design. It is like the splash of a rough wave. It is extremely difficult to create such a unique design and is highly regarded by his fellow artisans. One of his colleagues has said it seems to represent the joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure in a person's life.

KOHDAI base is called KATAGAWA KOHDAI, which is unique and tightens the overall atmosphere. Instead of an artisan stamp, a handwritten KATAKANA character signature with two letters SAKO is engraved on the bottom. The natural ash glaze covers it and makes it hard to find, but this is one of the characteristics of an up-and-coming artist. It is much lighter than it looks, and it is very gentle to the touch, and pleasant to drink from.

This bowl was fired in an ANAGAMA kiln using a cooling reduction technique called SUZU YAKI. It is a type of smoked ware, a traditional technique that originated in Japan around the end of the 12th century. During firing in the kiln, carbon absorbs at the surface of the bowl, resulting in black coloration. This feature is created by burning red pine and oak wood for three to four days without rest at the ANAMAGA kiln. The beautiful gradation from dull black to shiny black, and dark brown to emerald gray, created by the natural ash glaze is mesmerizing.

Another remarkable aspect of this bowl is the pattern. The patterns on the bottom were created by placing the work on AKAGAI sea shells during firing in the kiln. The shells are used not only to hold the bowl in place during firing, but to add patterns to the work or to adjust the burnt color. Traces of slightly striped patterns of sea shells are left beneath the base.

This KURO IWANAMI Matcha bowl is a unique creation based on traditional techniques of a very high standard in molding, SHINOGI carving, and firing. It has a mysterious aura that is both very innovative and also inexplicably calming to the viewer.

There is certainly a charm to this Matcha bowl that cannot be conveyed by photographs alone. Enjoy a wonderful green moment with this Matcha bowl, a perfect combination of respect for nature and craftsmanship by Mr. Sako.

Specially packaged in a wooden box.
Lead-free. Made in Japan.
(Please note that each piece is unique due to the techniques employed by the craftsman. There are natural variations in each piece.)




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Yoshihiro Sako

Yoshihiro Sako was born in Nara in 1971. He graduated from Ishikawa Kutaniyaki Technical Training Institute in 1995 after studying and making under Seimei Tsuji. In 2000, he established his own place of craft in Shigaraki, and in 2010, he established a traditional ANAGAMA kiln.
In 2009, his work was selected for the Japan Traditional Craft Exhibition Prize. Since then, he has continued to produce energetically and has been active internationally, including a workshop at the Tainan National University of the Arts in 2017.
His works are highly regarded among artisans for his use of multiple natural ash glazes at a high level, and his ability to bring out the original charm of the clay.


- It is best to wash this item using only tepid water or mild chlorine-free dish washing detergent.
- After use, please dry thoroughly. Otherwise, it could possibly get moldy.
- Do not sterilize by boiling, or in a dish washing machine.

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