My cup is bleeding!

Look!

Well, ok, maybe not. This is one of the two cups that my advisor gave to us when we got married. It was a very nice gift from Korea, and very well made. They are in the same style as Japanese Hagi ware. In fact, the original founder of Hagi ware in Japan was a Korean who was kidnapped to Japan during the first Japanese invasion of Korea at the end of the sixteenth century. The same is true for many other famous Japanese styles, most notably Raku-ware. Korean ceramics were always prized even before the invasions, so it makes sense that the daimyos would get potters from Korea back to their homes to make them nice bowls and cups.

There’s a thread on teachat right now for all Hagi ware, so I figured I’d take them out and picture them.

And I noticed how much one has changed compared to the other. Since I usually am drinking and my wife only joins in on occasion, one of the cups sees a lot less work than the other. This has created a real disparity in the colour of the cups, even though they have only been in use for less than a year.

Compare the one on the left, which is the bleeding cup, with the one on the right

I usually make wet stored puerh in these cups, so the tea is quite dark. It literally seeps through the cup and onto the other side, staining it in the process. I think I might stop using that other cup for a while to keep a “control” to see how far this coloration process will go. It’s quite interesting when pieces change in front of your eyes like that.

New stuff

Today I recieved in the mail two beautiful cups as a wedding present from our common sensei. The cups, I believe, have Korean origins. They have a milky white crackled glaze, sort of like Hagi-ware for the Japanese ceramics aficiandos out there, and is quite large. Just large enough, in fact, so that when I put my two chataku together, the lips of the cups just touch, which means no tea wasted when I pour straight from my pot into the cups, gongfu style, splitting the guangyungong bing I brewed today evenly into two cups.

Perfect!

Cups

I bought a new set of cups recently — a set of 4. Here’s one

Hand painted, methinks, since they are all substantially different (but same patterns). I think it’s actually quite old, at least a few decades. Stamped “Made in Hong Kong” of all places.

They’re actually big — almost 3 inches in diameter. I like bigger cups personally. I find not having to use a fairness cup much more convenient and just over all being a nicer thing to do. The presence of those fairness cups, now that I think about it, really detract from my enjoyment, for some odd reason. I must say I don’t find much of a difference between different kinds of cups, but once in a while, I do think different cups make a difference. Very small cups and larger ones do make a difference in how you perceive the tea — I think mostly it has to do with the nose and whether you’re smelling it while sipping, or not.

But I’m enjoying these cups today, drinking my aged dongding. One infusion, one cup… just the way I like it.

New teaware

I got some new teaware today…. since I have tea guests coming tomorrow, and I didn’t even have anything to serve them with!

I opted for the nicer looking stuff.  I could’ve bought dirt cheap cups, but they really do look nasty.  Now in contrast, my gaiwan looks awful… but oh well.  I’ll survive, for now anyway.

I also got a teapot from L

He kindly gave it to me as a gift.  He made a few dozen of them (special ordered) and gave me one for free.  I appreciate that :)

It’s even got his own chop on it