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Hagi ware cups

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Japanese Pottery252 of 1313Miya sauce pots and spoons by Mizuno?Very small Nerikomi Vase
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    Posted 2 years ago

    (877 items)

    These cups are 2.5" high x 3.5" diameter at the top. They are Hagi Ware and unmarked, so the maker is unknown, but do have the "chip" in the bottom which traditionally signified that they were meant for sale, not as gifts. They appear to be high quality pieces. They are brand new, but date from the 1970s and were never used. One has a hairline crack which occurred in shipping, but the other three are undamaged, still wrapped in the original paper they were sold in. These were $1 each, so hard to pass up. I think they are for Sencha do.

    "Hagi ware (Hagi-yaki) is a type of Japanese pottery traditionally originated from the town of Hagi, Yamaguchi, in the former Nagato Province.

    The origins of Hagi ware can be traced back to the arrival of Korean potters to Hagi, a quaint town situated in Yamaguchi Prefecture on the Japan Sea, following Japan’s military invasion of the Korean peninsula in the late 16th century. As a result, a large number of Korean craftsmen were abducted and transported to Japan, where they played a crucial role in establishing new pottery types such as Satsuma, Arita, and Hagi ware ("hagi yaki").....

    One might also notice a chip on the bottom, which was deliberately made by local pottery makers to sell the ware to merchants instead of presenting them as gifts to the Mori clan during the Edo period. Even today, Hagi ware continues to evolve in a response to the demands of customers, the aesthetic preferences of Hagi artists, and the environment."

    "Normally when we think of Japan’s tea ceremony, the one that most often comes to mind is ‘cha no yu,’ or the tea ceremony involving matcha. Nakai sensei also does the cha no yu ceremony, but the sencha do she also practices is much harder to find. She sits in front of us wearing her fukushitsu apron, and begins to explain as she pours the first round of tea. Sencha is Japan’s most popular tea. About 80% of all tea produced in Japan is sencha. "

    Leaving these a mystery in case someone knows, or can guess, the maker.

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    1. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for taking a look at my Hagi ware cups fortapache, Maryjo, aura, Jenni and
    2. rhineisfine rhineisfine, 2 years ago
      The deliberately cut notch in the kodai (foot) is characteristic of all Hagi wares:

      These are almost indended for sencha, but I am not sure they would be used in senchado (sencha tea ceremony), as fine porcelain is more common in that tea practice. I think these are more likely intended for serving in one's home.

    3. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments rhineisfine! You are probably right about the use for these. I don't agree that the notch is found in all Hagi ware. It may have generally been historically true in older pieces but I find it is not always present in modern pieces even cups. Here is a set I have that has no notches and a link to a site which sells modern Hagi ware, much of which is not notched. I have found many Japanese sites selling un-notched Hagi ware.

      Thanks for loving my Hagi ware cups rhineisfine, fortapache, Maryjo, aura, Jenni and Vynil33rpm!
    4. rhineisfine rhineisfine, 2 years ago
      You are right, my wording was incorrect, my apologies. I shouldn't have said all Hagi wares, as that's patently not true. What I meant to say is, the notch is typically found only in Hagi ware - I don't believe I've ever seen that notch in any other Japanese pottery type. I have some older Hagi pieces that are missing the notch. However, newer pieces often have it, especially if they are part of a set (as yours are). I have a set very much like yours, and the notch is right there! I've also seen it in some - not all - Hagi tea bowls, by which I mean chawan made for use in Japanese tea ceremony.

      No one really seems to be sure about the origin of the notch. Here's one take:

      The nice thing about Hagi is that the colour will change as you use the cup. Connoisseurs welcome this, as it gives the cup character and makes it unique as well as interesting. It's called the "seven changes of hagi". There's a a little article about that here, by the great Robert Yellin:

      I've read that different colour changes happen depending on whether you're drinking sencha out of the cup, or sake ;) but don't quote me because I can't find the source on that one!

      Again, lovely set, and I hope you find a use for it and can explore the seven changes over time :)
    5. rhineisfine rhineisfine, 2 years ago
      kwqd, just wanted to add that if you're curious about senchado, you can try to find a copy of the one book in English (to date) on the subject, which is: "Tea of the Sages: The Art of Sencha" by Patricia J. Graham. It's out of print, though, so it can be hard to find. You can read selected excerpts of it on Google Books, though.

      Some years ago I bought a copy of the book "Sencha no Kokoroe" (Information/Knowledge of Sencha): (original Japanese page on Amazon Japan) (Amazon Japan with English features)
      (using TinyURL because any URL containing kanji tends to bloat out when converted to Roman characters!).

      It's is lavishly photo-illustrated, with sections on the different "dogu" or utensils, and other sections showing the different procedures or "otemae". So it is helpful as a picture book for those of us who cannot read Japanese (like me). If you're ever tempted to order books from Amazon Japan - it's a rabbit hole, be warned - that is one you might enjoy.

      Senchado arose om [art as a "retort" to the increasing formality of chado (matcha tea ceremony), with the stated aim of creating a more relaxed, conversational environment for the enjoyment of steeped tea ... but a lot of chado influences have crept in over the years, to the point that many of the procedures (such as symbolic purification of the utensils using the "fukusa" or silk cloth) are nearly identical.
    6. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Just got back from hiking, sorry for the slow response! Yeah, definitely agree that the notch is unique to Hagi ware. I didn't know there were so many theories about the notch. I've also read that Hagi ware can get moldy if not properly dried and should be soaked in water prior to its first use. Pretty high maintenance pottery....
    7. rhineisfine rhineisfine, 2 years ago
      kwqd, yes it definitely can be high maintenance!

      Some Hagi ware is very porous and sometimes "crackly" - I think usually when made with rougher, more particulate clay. Once I bought an unused Hagi yunomi that kept slowly weeping its contents right through the clay. The cure was to submerge it for several hours in water containing rice gruel. I've heard that other people use corn starch for the thickener. Either way, it may take several tries until the clay's "pores" are filled and the vessel stops its weeping. There are a few posts about it on this old TeaChat thread:

      Most Japanese pottery pieces have a slightly porous quality. Unlike porcelain, they need to be dried and then set out to _really_ dry, for several hours at least if not a couple of days, before being put away. It might help to tuck in one of those silica gel desiccator packets if in any doubt (although I've never heard this recommended so try at your own risk!).

      There was a fantastic site called "Tea Toys", now defunct, and it had a whole section on care of Japanese tea utensils, including pottery. It's still available through the Wayback Machine. You might find it interesting as you acquire more tea utensils:
    8. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for the links, rhineisfine!
    9. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for taking a look at my Hagi ware cups RichmondLori, Thomas and rhineisfine!
    10. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thank you Thomas and RichmondLori!

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