Nakazato Tarouemon XIV
Sharkskin Matcha Bowl
This matcha bowl is a recent work by Nakazato Tarouemon XIV, of the famed Nakazato kiln. Made by the Master himself, it is an elegant piece that reflects both tradition and a playful imminence visible in the natural and serendipitous elements of Taroemon's work.
The shape is reminiscent of the Chosen Ido style, a Karatsu style of chawan that imitates ancient Japanese drinking wells in the breadth of the bowl mouth. The Idogawan shape was brought to Japan by Korean potters 400 years ago, as part of the syncretic development of ceramic arts in southern Japan, especially the Karatsu area.
However, unlike traditional Ido, this chawan has a more rounded shape and smaller base. It has a softer, lighter feel. The glaze, a pink-tinged gray, is applied all over, another deviation from traditional Karatsu style and thus a point of individual beauty. It drips and collects in pebbled sections over the base, obscuring the master’s signature, a single T for Tarouemon.
The color and simplicity of this piece is indicative of its high quality. The unusual color, a cloudy gray, is not by design, but rather is determined by heat as a result of its location inside the kiln upon firing. The glaze is clear and earthen, unlike the ash-made glazes of other Karatsu ware. It is gently applied and perfectly baked, a light touch that allows the original color of the clay to peep through. The thinness of the glaze gives it a more delicate, softer feel. This natural, unexpected hue is unadorned by any additional design.
It is well suited to tea ceremony practice. Thick matcha will look particularly well in the cradle of the bowl.
Please note : The box in which the chawan is placed is the signature and proof of its authenticity. It is accompanied by a history of Nakazato ware.
This central point where the glaze has collected and dripped downward is the most celebrated part of the object. During tea ceremony, this center point faces the guest; upon drinking, the guest turns the center point towards them to admire.
Another point of interest is the kairagi, or shark-skin texture created towards the base where the glaze collects and bubbles, revealing cracks of the clay beneath. Called “plum blossom skin”, it is unusual for Karatsu ware.
The slight cracks and imperfections on the inside of the chawan mean that it will change over time and through use. This natural progression of the life of a piece alongside that of its user is a main principle of Tarouemon's work. Simply holding this chawan connects you to a previous generation and, if maintained, could link you with future tea-drinkers of another era.
Height: 7.5 cm
Nakazato Tarouemon XIV
Born in 1957, Nakazato Tarouemon XIV, currently the Nakazato family's 14th generation, inherits the rich legacy of Karatsu ceramics and of his family. Surrounded by Karatsu ware from the day he was born, he took over his family's kiln in 1983. He soon came to realize how much brilliant work exists in old Karatsu ware. Today, he works daily to keep the tradition alive and make the unique beauty of Karatsu ware better known overseas.The Nakazato kiln has been in activity since the end of the 16th century in what is today Karatsu city in Saga prefecture, facing the Korean peninsula.