[Tenmoku] Tea Bowl Stoneware with “hare’s fur” glaze


[Tenmoku] Tea Bowl Stoneware with “hare’s fur” glaze

ceramics / Song Dynasty

Jian ware, China

Southern Song dynasty, 12th–13th century


高7.0 口径12.2 高台径3.9 重量287.1


This is a bowl used for drinking tea.
The bowl is known as 'Nogime tenmoku' type. Nogime refers to the pattern of innumerable thin, reddish-brown lines on the black ground, which resemble the fur that tops the ear of a rice plant. In China, this pattern is named after its resemblance to rabbit fur.
The 'Tenmoku' part of the name is derived from the Japanese pronunciation for Tianmu, a mountain located on the border between China's Zhejiang and Anhui provinces. It is said the bowls were used at a Zen temple on Tianmu and were first brought over to Japan by a returning Japanese student monk during the Kamakura period.
In the Kamakura period, a large number of Tenmoku-type tea bowls were imported into Japan. The Japanese certainly took to these bowls. Under the Muromachi shogunate, which ruled Japan from the end of the 14th century to the late 16th century, the bowls were classified into specific categories based on appearance and even given ratings. Many of these bowls have survived to the present day, with several of them designated National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties.
However, black tea bowls had already gone out of fashion in China by the 13th century, so it seems well-used antique bowls were collected together and exported to meet any orders that came from Japan thereafter.
For the Japanese, the real attraction of Tenmoku-type tea bowls lies in the way their appearance changes in the light. The bowl is meant to be held in the hands and appreciated at a leisurely pace from many angles.

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