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Japanese Tea Bowls
The Chawan or the Japanese tea bowl is used to drink matcha, the powdered green tea during the Japanese tea ceremony. It is said that the first Japanese tea bowl was imported from China along with the tea leaves. However with the passage of time, the Chawan or the Japanese tea bowl developed a distinct style speaking about the ideals of the Japanese tea ceremony.
The Japanese tea bowls are made in certain specific sizes, types and shapes. Coming in different types, these tea bowls are used as per the season, the rank of the guest attending the tea ceremony and the kind of tea that is served during the ceremony.
Tea bowls which are used as per the season are usually the ones used for the summer and the winter tea ceremony. Wide and shallow tea bowls are used in summer for allowing the tea to cool. Narrow, tall ones are used in winter. The emphasis is mostly placed on the aesthetic quality of the tea bowls and also on the artist who created it. Tokoname is a famous and old town in Japan known for its ceramics.
Buying a good Japanese tea bowl can be easy if you bear a few things in mind. Examining the inside of the tea bowl is vital. The inside of the bowl should be smooth in texture. If the finish is rough, then brewing of tea will not be even as the matcha powder can get stuck in the cracks and crevices. Also the lip of the bowl should be smooth and even.
The bottom of the tea bowl should be checked for a steady and even foot else it will not sit on the table properly and whisking of tea or matcha will be difficult. Also the tea bowl should be of the right weight to hold it in the hand.
The Japanese tea ceremony which is usually held in a calm and tranquil environment dates back to the times during Zen Buddhism. The tea ceremony takes place on a woven straw mat called the Tatami and the host performs the tea ceremony preparing individual bowl for each guest present. A tea ceremony can go on up to almost 5 hours. Food and sweets are also served along with the tea or matcha.
Japanese tea bowls are available in a variety of types. Examining and buying them is better than ordering them online. Yet, the ones you get by order are also attractive and functional. The Japanese tea bowl is one of the most favored utensils in a formal Japanese tea ceremony whisk and bowl set.