Some of my favourite chawan – Part 3: Fujibakama (Ran-chawan)

This is the last entry of my mini-series on famous tea cups or chawan (茶碗). For this series, I chose tree tea cups, that I personally like and this time, I would like to talk about a chawan that looks a little bit different than the tea cups most of the people would immediately associate with chanoyu (茶の湯), the Japanese tea ceremony.

About Buncheong ware and Mishima ware

Fujibakama or Ran-chawan is a representative of Buncheong ware (분청사기), which was popular from 14th to 16th century Joseon dynasty (조선왕조, 1392-1910), Korea. In Japan, Buncheong ware was discovered for chanoyu by Japanese tea masters, and it was categorized as kōrai-mono (高麗物), which is a term for pottery from Korea. When it became widely popular, potters in Japan started producing similar ware. Both, the Korean originals, as well as the Japanese ware in the same style then were called mishima-yaki (三島焼) or Mishima ware.

Mishima ware is named after the city of Mishima in Shizuoka Prefecture. It is said that the design of the tea ware resembled the design of a calender published by Mishima Taisha (三嶋大社 , the Grand Shrine of Mishima) in the 17th Century. It therefore is the only pottery in Japan that is not named after its production place.

Sketch of Fujibakama / Ran-chawan (by the author) – to view the original please click here

Fujibakama or Ran-chawan

This mishima-chawan (三島茶碗), named Fujibakama (藤袴) or Ran-chawan (蘭茶碗), derives from the 15th Century. For a tea cup used for chanoyu, it has a surprisingly high and cylindrical body, for which it is also categorized as tsutsu-chawan (筒茶碗), which means pipe-shaped tea cup. Its gray-green glaze is typical for Buncheong ware. It is covered in the same glaze as used for Celadon ware (Chinese: 青瓷 or Korean: 청자), which is known for its jade-green colour. There is an abstract floral inlay on the front. And on the top and the bottom of its body, ornamental inlays encircle the chawan.

Fujibakama was owned by Oda Nagamasu (織田長益 or Yūraku 有楽 or Urakusai 有楽斎, 1548-1622), a daimyō (大名, feudal lord) and tea master, who was also the brother of Oda Nobunaga (織田信長, 1534-1582) and a disciple of Sen no Rikyū (千利休, 1522-1591). On the tea cups box, there is a note which is said to have been written by Nagamasu, with the tea cups name: Ran-chawan. The tea cups other name is Fujibakama, which can be written in two ways: 藤袴 and 蘭草 (The kanji 蘭 is used for the name Ran-chawan). Fujibakama is a plant known as fragrant eupatorium (Eupatorium japonicum), which blooms from June to November.

Fujibakama received one more name: kyōgen-bakama, due to the resemblance of the floral inlay to the hakama (袴, the traditional Japanese leg wear for men) worn by kyōgenshi (狂言師), the actors in a humorist performing art called kyōgen.

The tea cup is regarded as dai-meibutsu (大名物, which is a term used for the most famous tea utensils, and it is also listed as cultural heritage. It is part of the collection of the Tokugawa Art Museum (徳川美術館) in Nagoya, where I was lucky to see this it along with many other in the “Tea Utensil masterpieces (茶の湯名品)” exhibition at the museum in 2015.

The flyer for the “Tea Utensil masterpieces (茶の湯名品)” exhibition at the Tokugawa Art Museum, 2015.

This is the end of this mini-series. If you are interested in learning more about other fascinating tea cups, please click on the links below. I hope you enjoyed reading. In the future, I will write more about various pottery related to tea.

Part 1: Yōhen tenmoku chawan

Part 2: Waraya

References

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。

徳川美術館 『茶の湯の名品 徳川美術館所蔵』名古屋、 徳川美術館、 2015年。

The Agency for Cultural Affairs「三島筒茶碗 銘 藤袴」(『文化遺産オンライン Cultural Heritage Online 』)http://bunka.nii.ac.jp/heritages/detail/18724 (2019年06月11日確認)。

Yellin, Robert “Mishima Pottery. The mystery and the mastery.” in: The Japan Times. (2001-10-01). https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2001/10/10/arts/the-mystery-and-the-mastery/ (Accessed 2019-06-11).

2 Replies to “Some of my favourite chawan – Part 3: Fujibakama (Ran-chawan)”

    1. Thank you so much.
      I am glad to hear that you enjoy reading my blog.
      unfortunately, I have been offline for a while for personal reasons, but I am glad to announce that there will be more entries soon. I hope, you will enjoy future entries as well.

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