An Exhibition of Tea Bowls by Masanobu Ando
November 16-23, 2022
Nalata Nalata is pleased to present Gold Chawans, a rare collection of tea bowls from ceramic artisan and tea master Masanobu Ando. Drawing from the rich history of tea’s arrival in Japan, each handcrafted piece in this collection expresses the intersection of Zen Buddhism and sensorial appreciation that Ando-san identifies in contemporary Japanese tea culture.
Tea, with its rituals and culture, was introduced to Japan in the 8th century by the cross migration of monks studying religion in China. Along with Zen Buddhism, the monks brought the idea of finding eminence in the small things and beauty in the everyday that had informed tea culture, which provided a sense of grace to the unpredictability and volatility of daily life. These ideals were passed down into Japanese sado (the way of tea) and senchado (the way of sencha), giving way to a greater sensitivity towards the textures and materials that surround the practice of preparing and drinking tea.
Ando-san’s collection of ten gold chawans showcases the influence of tea culture in his craft. Having studied sado and holding chaji (formal tea ceremonies) and chakai (casual tea ceremonies) as an aspect of his art practice since the early 1990s, Ando-san created each piece to highlight the distinctly personal experience of selecting and using a chawan. Each piece features a unique shape and style that creates distinct focal points to appreciate its materiality. Each chawan is then glazed in gold of varying vibrancy.
The contemporary revival of tea culture that began in the 1980s also brought back the concept of mitate, or looking at an object anew and finding use for it other than its original purpose. With this collection, Ando-san invites us to reconsider our notions of gold to bring a sense of refinement back to our day-to-day lives. The presence of gold is often reserved for special occasions, but his application of pure gold glaze on these chawans is charmingly rustic, making each piece feel more at home as tableware for daily use.
Not only does it contain the highest ideals of sado and senchado within its ceramic walls, the chawan also embodies the culmination of a potter’s dedication and practice. We are honored to bring together Ando-san’s tea bowls for Gold Chawans, and we hope that you can join us for this rare opportunity to showcase the crown of his exceptional craft.