A Short Progression of Hagi


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A Short Progression of Hagi

Postby cloudyday » Mar 14th, '08, 19:40

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I've really come to love Hagi ware. It's greatest attribute is that it progresses over time, absorbing the tea you drink in it and adopts its own unique character. This article will focus solely on white-glazed Hagi.
This is a selection from Magokorodo on the unique quality of Hagi:

"The big feature of Hagi ware is in the softness and water absorptivity of the ground baked thoroughly. With the climbing kiln, in order to burn slowly with the degree of low fire for a long time, the feel of a product is soft, and since the ground is seldom burning and waiting, it has moistness heavily. Furthermore, since there is a water absorptivity, while using for years, tea and alcohol permeate and the color of a teacup changes, and among masters of the tea ceremony, it is called "CHA NARE (tea tameness)", and is treasured."

These characteristics reveal themselves quickly, and recently I acquired my second Deishi Sibuya tea cup, so I decided to make a small presentation on the transformation of this cup over a short number of drinkings.

To begin, and make clear, an unused Hagi piece is completely white all around, aside from areas where the glaze runs thin and one can see the brownish hue of the pottery underneath. Here are my 2 Hagi tea cups - these are pictures by the vendor:

Deishi Cup 1
Deishi Cup 2

Here is my own picture of the cup that I will use to show the progression. This was after the first cup of tea, and already one change has taken place, though small. There is a thin darkened area on the unglazed area where it meets the glaze:

The Cup

This following picture was taken after the 2nd or 3rd brewed pot.
Already, there are cracks forming on the outer walls of the cup. I only bothered to take this picture at this stage, since no other changes were visible:

Beginning Cracks Are Now Visible

The following pictures are what the cup now currently looks like, after around 5-8 pots of tea. The crackling on the outside is much more abundant and noticeable. The inside has begun to form cracks, but they tend to be much smaller and closer together. On the unglazed area, tea has absorbed and the pottery takes on a dark green tint, thought not completely uniform (whether this will be the case after hundreds of brewings, I cannot say):

The Outer Surface
The Inner Surface
The Unglazed Bottom

And here are a couple pictures of my first Hagi cup, which has seen more use. The bottom part shows why (I assume) Deishi will often have the glaze thin out on most of his cups, closer to the bottom normally. The thinner the glaze, the larger proliferation of cracking will occur. And in the case of the bottom inside of the cup, greater absorption of tea, causing coloration (though the swirl is the pottery, where the glaze is thin):

Outside Bottom of Older Cup
Inside Bottom of Older Cup

And there you have it, the charm of Hagi ware. A piece of pottery that will change and evolve as you drink with it. They are among my favorite cups to use, not only for their elegant beauty, but also for that extra dimension of evolution, which is at the heart of the beauty.

Image

Edit: Gyokuro was drunk from both these cups, and maybe the occasional Kukicha serving for the older cup...regardless, these cups have only seen green tea in them.
Last edited by cloudyday on Mar 15th, '08, 00:41, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Mar 14th, '08, 19:46

Wonderful post! Thank you for the info and testimonial. I have been looking into Hagi-yaki lately, so your enthusiastic comments are nice to read.

Those cups are from Artistic Nippon, aren't they? I saw one of them was sold out... I guess that was you! :D
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Postby cloudyday » Mar 14th, '08, 22:02

Actually, I acquired both of these from Magokorodo. It's where I get most of my cups from.
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Mar 14th, '08, 22:13

Interesting... the more rounded one looks just like one I saw on artistic nippon. Same supplier maybe? *shrugs*

Anyway, thanks again for the great post.
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Postby cloudyday » Mar 14th, '08, 22:20

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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Postby Victoria » Mar 14th, '08, 22:57

Very interesting and nicely reported!
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Postby TaiPing Hou Kui » Mar 15th, '08, 22:49

Scruff--Mogokorodo's store on ebay sells alot of Shibya Deishi's pieces of Hagi ware and Toru-San from www.artisticnippon.com deals exclusively with the same potter (Shibuya Deishi). That is why the cups look so similar. I got all of my Hagi Ware from Shibuya Deishi. I will be shure to get some pics up soon of my Hagi collection so all of you can drool :)

-Nick (TaiPing)
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Mar 16th, '08, 01:33

Nick– ah, that makes sense. :) I will definitely save my drool for when those pics come up!
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Postby chamekke » Apr 9th, '08, 01:09

Hagi ware is actually much more varied than many people realize. I didn't appreciate this myself until I came across an exhibition catalogue on Hagi ware (in Japanese only, alas) at a local second-hand store. For anyone who love pottery in general and Hagi ware in particular, this was a major p0rn find!

There are pieces in this catalogue that I would readily give my eyeteeth to own. Sadly, no one wants to buy my eyeteeth for those kinds of prices :cry:

Here's the book (and if anyone can provide further info on it, please do):
http://www.librarything.com/work/159447/book/614252

If anyone's interested, I can upload a few scans to give you a sense of the many faces of Hagi ware. There are several exquisite chawan-s, for example.
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Postby andy825 » Apr 9th, '08, 15:43

Ooooh, pottery p0rn? Please share!!!!!1 I never get tired of looking at pretty little pots.
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Postby brianlavelle » Apr 9th, '08, 18:14

A great article - thanks for posting that. I love the way Hagi ware ages like this, and relatively quickly too. It creates a sense that the piece is very much yours - and the tea's, of course!

chamekke - I'd certainly be interested to see some scans from this catalogue.
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Postby andy825 » Apr 9th, '08, 19:32

Does anyone know what is particular about the hagi glaze that it is so clumpy and crackly? As a beginning ceramacist, I'd like to give it a try, but I can't figure out what makes it like that, the glaze or the technique or both....
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Postby chamekke » Apr 10th, '08, 03:33

brianlavelle wrote:chamekke - I'd certainly be interested to see some scans from this catalogue.


OK - I'll post a few over the next few days, along with the name of the artist in question. I can't read much kanji, but luckily the catalogue author included the names of the artists in hiragana as well as kanji.

So put on your bibs and prepare to drool!

Here are the first items in the catalogue, and they both happen to be teabowls (chawan). These are by an artist named MIWA Kyuusetsu (三輪 休雪). The kanji at lower right in these photos says, "Oni-hagi chawan - diameter [width] xx.x [cm] X height xx.x [cm]."

Image

Image

These bowls, of course, were made for tea ceremony, and are meant for drinking matcha.

Miwa Kyuusetsu XI (b. 1910) was responsible for popularizing the oni hagi or "devil hagi" style, and has been named an Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure) of Japan. No doubt that's why his work is first in this catalogue!

P.S. Edited to remove link, since I just realized that I broke the rules by including it (haven't been a member for a month yet :oops: ). However, hopefully the following is OK to mention:

For those who want to know more about Miwa's work, there's a very interesting article by Robert Yellin on the e-Yakimono website titled "Veteran of Hagi Continues Rediscovery". If you're a big fan of hagi ware, I recommend taking a peek.
Last edited by chamekke on Apr 12th, '08, 00:39, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby chamekke » Apr 11th, '08, 14:45

OK, here's another piece from the Hagi exhibition catalogue:

Image

This is a Hagi teabowl from SAKATA Deika (坂田 泥華). Another venerable old-timer of Hagi.
Last edited by chamekke on Apr 12th, '08, 00:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby brianlavelle » Apr 11th, '08, 18:17

Beautiful scans, chamekke. I particularly like the second, slightly angular-looking Miwa Kyuusetsu chawan: an extraordinary piece.

Thanks for posting these - more if you can manage too!
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