Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pristine or used?

Sen No Rikyu is quoted as saying "The value of a piece of teaware depends on its ability to make good tea." That being said, I feel there is a large emphasis in Western cultures put on having pristine looking ceramics among many other things. While of course I want to eat from clean plates and drink from clean glasses, I am comforted when something shows its use.

From Seven Stages of Hagi

Hagi yaki, and Korean ceramics are quite well known for the effect pictured above. When I see something like that, I personally feel "this cup has experienced tea as I have experienced it, and has stories to tell." I almost feel like the cup is an allegory for experience, this cup remembers a little bit each sip taken from it, it shows its been through quite a bit.

In contrast to pristine teaware, such as constantly washed and scrubbed porcelain. While they to might have stories to tell, I feel like when they get thoroughly cleaned, it is almost as if their memories are being completely wiped clean.

Granted a clean piece of ceramic can still look great, and show the care the creator put into its creation.

From Hagi yaki

But after extensive use, it develops in my mind so much more character.

From Seven Stages of Hagi

Again this is all personal preference, but I love my heavily used looking pieces.