There are certain tea bowls favored by historical and contemporary tea masters.
Raku ware, Hagi ware and Karatsu ware are commonly used tea bowls in the tea ceremony, as they go well with the wabi and sabi atmosphere of the tea ceremony.
This article talks about Hagi ware.
Beauty of Hagi Ware
Hagi ware has natural, rough and simpe texture, gentle color and a rustic atmosphere. It gives warm impression and gently touches your heart.
We introduce the characteristics of Hagi ware.
Crazing and The Seven Changes (Color Changes)
Hagi ware change its color and the look become more tasteful as they are used more. People call this fact ” The seven changes of Hagi”
It is because that glaze surface of Hagi ware has crazing (web of tiny cracks over its surface) , and as tea seeps into these crazing and the color of bowl changes.
How Is Crazing Formed?
After firing is finished, works (wares) are cooled in the kiln. When the temperature drops in the kiln, the clay (body of the ware) and the glaze on the body shrink. Because glaze shrinks more than the ware (clay), fine cracks are formed on the glazed surface (not on surface of ware ). This is the crazing.
How to Use Hagi Ware (Note for Use)
Contents of this section is what was confirmed with a Hagi Ware Studio in Hagi city. (This is commonly known customs of use)
Hagi ware is highly hygroscopic. Absorbs what is put in first. It seeps through the crazing.
For example, for a dish, if soy sauce is put in, it will soak through directly and the color of dish turn darker. In a Matcha bowl, Matcha will directly soak into the bowl. How people do with Hagi ware when using them, please refer the following tips,
When to use very first time / When to use, after long time no use
First soak the bowl in warm water to let the bowl absorb the water from the inside and the outside of the bowl for about 30 minutes. Then start use it. If the bowl absorbed water in it already, there is lesser space for Matcha absorbed in.
The color of the Matcha bowl gradually changes as you use in this way. This change is called “The Seven Changes of Hagi ware” (萩の七化け Hagi no nanabake) . This is a characteristic of Hagi ware and a point of appreciation of Hagi ware.
Case for Daily use / Frequently use
If you use a Matcha bowl frequently or daily basis, just fill hot water in the bowl for shorter time (approx. 10 minutes or so) then wipe it and use it.
How to Wash Hagi Matcha Bowl
Please do not use detergent. Do not use sponge when washing.
Clay of Hagi Ware and How to Care
Clay of Hagi ware is rather fire refractory. Even when they are fired at high temperatures, subtle spaces remain between the clay particles.
This subtle spaces can absorb water (moisture). In other words, water (moisture) can stay in subtle spaces.
Even if you wipe bowl with dry cloth after washing and the bowl looks dried, it can (most probably ) still have moisture on the inside layer of the bowl.
If you put the bowl in a box or put in the closed shelf in this status, the bowl can have mold later.
Please be sure to dry Hagi ware thoroughly after wash.