In 800 years of the history of drinking tea, tea bowls have been playing the most significant role among various utensils used in the tea ceremony (chanoyu). Tea bowls have been handled carefully with respect and handed down generation after generation to the present day. In response to the demands of tea masters at the time, tea bowls had been altered and further developed into variations such as tenmoku and sometsuke (underglaze blue) from China, ido and irabo from Korea, and Japanese original raku and overglaze polychrome enamel (iroe). Some tea bowls reflect the names of places or owners, and others are named aesthetically; those are the characters which contribute to the refined taste displayed in a tea ceremony.
This exhibition introduces some 50 tea bowls from the museum’s collection with background information of the bowls’ usage, introduction of their history, and explanation of the origins of their names.