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Min Young Ki
“I don’t get it. This is just a common bowl. I can find lots of bowls like this on my college student’s shelves and I have them throw most of them out.” A well-known American potter said this to me while showing me a photo of a nice Korean tea bowl. That bowl was similar in color and form to this bowl but; to be fair, it was not this bowl he was referring to. Never the less, bowls like this may not be for everyone. This bowl is so “simple” so “plain”, un-agitated, innocent, natural and “ordinary”.
Before I began this post I had a very brief moment when I thought I might attempt to “enlighten” that potter and others to the beauty of this bowl by discussing the things about it that make it truly a very special tea bowl. What a pompous, naïve thought that was! Unless there is personal insight nothing more can be said or seen.
In addition, I’m certain that I don’t always “get it”. If I understood or felt a tiny fraction of what can or should be understood or felt about chawan it might give me a little peace in this search. I am sure that there are many really good chawan that I don’t yet “see” or “feel”. So who am I to judge others?
This particular Min bowl is probably easier to “feel” but may be more difficult to “see”.
When tasting various teas for the first time it often takes me more than one sitting to fully appreciate the various nuances that tea can provide. It seems to be the same with chawan. This post is here simply to give you another taste.
Click on images once or twice to enlarge
Soetsu Yanagi wrote of the Kizaemon Ido Teabowl:
Why should beauty emerge from the world of the ordinary? The answer is because that world is natural. In Zen there is a saying that at the far end of the road lies effortless peace. What more can be desired? So, too, peaceful beauty. The beauty of the Kizaemon Ido bowl is that of strifeless peace . . . . .
and this chawan?
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