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Pale Grey Crackle Glaze Matcha Bowl


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Potter: Zuisho Iwamoto
Kiyomizu Pottery, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
2.75″ tall
5″ wide
Packaged in a paper box


Shop for Japanese Matcha



Potters fashion Matcha bowls from various clay in all of the famous pottery making areas of Japan. They are traditionally hand-built from local clay that has been fired in wood, electric or gas fired kilns that do not reach a high internal temperature. As such, Matcha bowls are softer in density and clay structure than porcelain tea wares, which are fired at a very high temperature and whose glaze has bonded with the clay to create a hard, durable piece.


Matcha bowls are made for whisking and drinking powdered green tea and are durable for this use, but are not meant for drinking hotter-temperature types of tea such as black tea. Nor are they meant to be used as a teapot substitute for steeping loose-leaf tea.


In Japan and Korea much attention is paid to the unique characteristics of handmade pottery, and this includes all of the variables that make a handmade piece unique. A drippy glaze, a slightly lopsided lip, a finger mark in the glaze, etc, are examples of character that shows ‘the hand’ of the maker.


Matcha bowls can develop glaze cracks on the inside and outside surfaces of the clay depending on the type of clay and the type of glaze the bowl has been given. Cracks that appear only in the glaze with used (as opposed to cracks in the actual clay body) do not leak or weaken the vessel. Glaze cracks  and are held in high regard by tea drinkers, tea wares collectors and potters. It is the ‘voice of the clay’ speaking, and is viewed as the piece contributing some ‘self-patterning’ to the surface appearance. No two pieces of pottery will ever be exactly the same when the glaze develops a unique pattern of distinguishing glaze cracks from use.


Owning a Matcha bowl requires thoughtful handling and careful use.


Matcha bowls are not intended for use in a microwave or dishwasher. These tea bowls are meant to be simply rinsed and air-dried on a kitchen towel on the counter-top after use. Using Matcha bowls for tea other than powdered green tea can result in introducing water to the bowl that is too hot – this will encourage more glaze cracking to develop.


Please be aware that some foot-rings on Matcha bowls are intentionally not glazed and that un-glazed clay can be rough. While foot-rings such as these are considered desirable, one should take care to protect wooden table surfaces, counter-tops, and stainless-steel surfaces from being scratched.

This stunning bowl is a beguiling work of art. Layers of mica-like flakes create a ‘cracked ice’ appearance in the glaze, populating the surface of the tea bowl shoulder to shoulder. Light-brown-colored veins running between the flakes add definition and contrast. Looking into the interior of the tea bowl is like looking into the night sky – the details keep coming and the more you look the more you see.

In some places the flakes of mica are stacked two and three upon each other, but the effect is always elegant, light and skillfully executed. The bowl is reminiscent of the shape of an Ido-era Korean tea bowl, but the potter has given the shape a soft, modern, slightly angular form.

The re-curved lip is very easy to sip from, and the foot-ring elevates the bowl for ease in cradling the bowl to raise it up. The clay is a fine textured, ivory-tan color, and the bowl is signed. This tea bowl has been marked with the name of the potter, but we cannot read the name. Paperwork does however, accompany the bowl. This tea bowl is a lovely addition to any carefully curated selection of tea bowls.

The color of the bowl is a soft and subtle pale grey bordering on winter white. Despite my best efforts with camera, lights and filters, the photograph suggests a hint of blue in the glaze which is not present.

Please Note:
This is a handmade item – slight variations in the painting, colors, tooling, patterning and kiln effects of Chinese and Japanese teawares are to be expected. We have carefully photographed this item as best as possible – please be aware that different device screens can render colors and subtle tones slightly differently.