A National Treasure tea bowl called, Unohana-gaki is a superb piece of Shino ware.
The other day, I saw it at an exhibition that was held in the Mitsui Memorial Museum, Tokyo.
Unohana-gaki is my desired Shino ware.
Though I have seen it in a photo book time and again, it was the first time I saw the real thing.
Unohana-gaki was made in the 16th century.
The potter who made it is unknown.
Sekisyu Katagiri, who was a famous tea master in the 17th century, named it Unohana-gaki.
It means the flowers of deutzia that grow in hedgerows.
The iron brushwork on the tea bowl looks like a hedgerow.
So Sekisyu Katagiri might describe the white glaze as white flowers.
I got a sense of the warmth of the white glaze covering over the scarlet color.
It was a rustic warmth, and it made me feel a natural Japanese beauty.
The existence of Unohana-gaki itself is beautiful Japanese scenery without the need to be likened to a flower or snow.
I would be so happy if I was able to drink Matcha green tea with Unohana-gaki.
But it’s just a fantasy.
Unlike me, there are some people who feel Unohana-gaki is just an old, dingy tea bowl.
That is the right viewpoint physically.
The beauty that I saw might be an illusion.
In other words, Unohana-gaki gave me an illusion of beautiful Japanese scenery, and that might be the real appeal of this old tea bowl.
Today, Unohana-gaki is appreciated as an artistic object that is in a showcase.
That old tea bowl would never be used as a tea bowl forever and ever.
It may be the irony of fate because of its own beauty.