Some of my favorite chawan – Part 2: Waraya

Furuta Oribe (古田織部 or actually Furuta Shigenari 古田重然, 1544-1615), is definitively one of the people in tea history I admire most, especially for his artistic sense (In the near future, I will write more about him). He was a daimyō (大名, feudal lord) and a tea master at the same time and studied tea under Sen no Rikyū (千利休, 1522-1591). The pottery that is attributed to Oribe in my view is truly unique and beyond his time. Yet, it there is an ongoing dispute among researchers whether Oribe-yaki (織部焼, Oribe pottery) really goes back to Furuta Oribe or if the name is just a coincidence. The name Oribe may have been used since Oribe-yaki was produced in Mino, Gifu prefecture, which was also the hometown of the tea master. Nevertheless, Oribe-yaki represent the artistic spirit of the tea master and moreover, Oribe-yaki completely changed the landscape of Japanese pottery until this day.

Today, I would like to introduce one chawan ( 茶碗, tea cup) that represents the typical aesthetics of Oribe-yaki:

Hiskuro-oribe kutsugata-chawan, called waraya

A sketch of Waraya (by the author)

The kuro-Oribe kutsugata-chawan called Waraya (黒織部沓形茶碗 銘 わらや, first half of the 17th century) or in short, Waraya is a perfect example for the beauty of Oribe-yaki. I would interpret the black colour as the influence of Rikyū, who preferred black tea cups, since they put an emphasis on the tea and don’t let any unrelated emotions interfere. Rikyūs stoic sense of beauty influenced not only his disciples, but also the general sense of beauty in Japan and Oribe-yaki with its kuro-Oribe (黒織部 or Oribe-guro 織部黒, the black line of Oribe potteries) follow that path as well. What makes a typical Oribe are the playful patterns on the one hand and the dynamic shape on the other hand. Warayas simple ornamental pictures on the glazeless spots is one of the signature looks of kuro-Oribe. The last part of the name of this tea cup is kutsugata. Kutsugata chawan are tea cups with a deformed, asymmetrical body, such as this one and are typical for Oribe-yaki.

Waraya now is in the collection of Gotoh Museum (五島美術館). A photo and further details can be viewed here (due to copyright reasons, I could not upload a photo and therefore did a rough sketch of the tea cup). I can also recommend a visit at the Museum of Furuta Oribe in Kyōto if you want to see more chawan like this.

What is/are your favourite chawan or type of pottery? Please leave a comment below.


今日庵 茶道資料館『茶道文化検定公式テキスト 1級・2級用茶の湯をまなぶ本』東京、淡交社、2009年。

五島美術館「 黒織部沓形茶碗 銘 わらや」(『五島美術      館』)年05月05日確認)。


陸 留弟 「古田織部と織部焼き―そのヘウゲモノに秘められる意味を考える― Furutaoribe and His Pottery Tea Cups Named after His Name A Study on the Meaning of Heugemono)」(南山大学『The bulletin of the Center for International Education, Nanzan University, 11, 1-13, 2010』) (2019年05月05日確認)。

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