“Tale of Tea” Exhibition

Dai Ichi Gallery

poster for “Tale of Tea” Exhibition

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Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd. presents Tale of Tea, our second spring exhibition which examines the thriving production of tea bowls and related objects. Grouping long-standing artists with young renegades in the ceramic arts, this exhibition shows the relevance of a centuries-old tradition to our frenetic contemporary lives. Among them, Tale of Tea presents works by Suzuki Goro (鈴木五郎), Kawase Shinobu, Yamada Kazu, Ueba Kasumi (植葉香澄), Goto Hideki (後藤秀樹),Yokoyama and Kim Hono (金憲鎬).

A tea bowl is supposed to “fit in your hands and harbor the spirit.” It has no room for our egos or the demands of our fast-paced lives. Many centuries have passed since Buddhist monks brought tea from southern China to Japan in the Kamakura period (1185–1333), and contemporary ceramic artists continue to support these traditions against the grain of modernity. Come see which of Dai Ichi Arts’ artists achieve the tea bowl of today – nestled in the contemporary while brimming with tradition.

Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the sixth century and the island country absorbed the mainland’s rituals and material advancements including paper, incense, medicine, tea leaf and Kanji. Ceremonial items often played functional roles and tea was originally utilized for medicinal purposes. Tea bowls entered Japan alongside ceremonial and practical needs of Buddhist lifestyles. These rituals shed light on why a tea bowl forces us to pause and reflect amid the honking of cars and ringing of smart phones. For example, cedar, cypress, and other fragrant types of wood have been burnt in ceremonies since time immemorial. Wood was incorporated into monks’ garments to amplify the spiritual depth of the everyday while repelling insects. The appreciation of incense can even be found in the eleventh-century masterpiece of Japanese literature, The Tale of Genji. Like wood, tea served a practical purpose by keeping priests alert during long meditations and having medicinal benefits. And yet, tea became its own agent of spirituality, inspiring the iconic tea ceremony as well as a rich tradition of ceramic practice.

The Japanese tea ceremony has driven artistic culture since the Momoyama Period (1574-1600). It strives for perfection through many channels at once and has enhanced other art forms at the same time, including poetry, flower arrangement, food, and ceramics.

Japan has developed a diverse range of a tea bowl styles. Both Shino and Oribe styles date back to the sixteenth century. The gooey white glaze of Shino Ware, with its distinct bubbles and red marks, can be found on many tea bowls. Oribe tea bowls often come in surprising shapes with vivid blue, copper, and green colors. The Ryukyu aesthetic brings us more simple, quiet bowls to soothe our thoughts. Other traditions include the ancient kilns of Shigaraki, Bizen, Iga, sites that are continuously interrogated by contemporary ceramic artists.

For Tale of Tea, Dai Ichi Arts presents artists who build on these rich traditions. We are pleased to introduce Suzuki Goro’s (鈴木五郎) serendipitous Oribe tea bowls and tea caddies. Kawase Shinobu’s quintessentially Southern Song style is pristine in its elegant, celadon glazes that have inspired a few recent exhibitions at Dai Ichi Arts. Yamada Kazu, who studied with Kato Tokuro, brings us free and spontaneous vessels inspired by Sodesha works. Ueba Kasumi (植葉香澄), Goto Hideki (後藤秀樹)’s volcanic shino and Kim Hono (金憲鎬) bring a youthful modern energy to this traditional medium through formal, technical, and decorative experimentation. Their innovative and inspired works ensure the continuation of the ceramic tradition and offer glimpses of new and exciting directions in the field.



from April 18, 2019 to May 02, 2019

Opening Reception on 2019-04-18 from 17:00 to 20:00

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