I've been fortunate enough to travel to Japan twice so far, once in the 80s and again just a few years back. When I was younger I received an invitation to a formal tea ceremony - "chado" and was struck by the elegance and reverence it holds in Japanese culture. When I returned a few years ago I visited the Ippodo Tea Company in Kyoto - a 300 year old tea seller where I was able to sample some of the finest matcha in the country. On both trips I was struck by the variety and craftsmanship of Japanese pottery.
Wayne Ngan understands the Japanese aesthetic and masterfully demonstrates this in his tea bowls. His work has given me a renewed interest in the humble tea bowl and the simple pleasure of enjoying a bowl of fine matcha.
The yunomi, like the one pictured above, is a smaller form of tea bowl used for everyday. Its usually taller than it is wide. This example features Wayne's hakame brushwork over porcelain.
The chawan is a larger and wider bowl used for preparing and drinking matcha. The finely ground green tea is whisked with a special bamboo tool in a precise motion to froth it in preparation for drinking - best served at 80 degrees. This raku chawan features a hand carved foot or "kodai." The Japanese have a special appreciation for the kodai of a chawan as they feel it reveals the potter's skill and spirit.
A selection of three different chawan. The first two are raku examples of "han tsutsu-gata" or half-cylinder shape. The third shape - a porcelain bowl with green and tenmoku pinwheeled glaze is called "hatazori-gata" or "lipped bowl."
This is a very early example of one of Wayne's yunomi, likely dating to around 1960. Its an unusual form for him called "kuroginsai." Its difficult to tell in the photo but there is a bird painted underneath the blue overglaze.
Two fantastic examples of Wayne Ngan hakame. These yunomi were sold as a pair called "meoto yunomi." One is slightly larger than the other which is typical for a special set like these - usually reserved for wedding gifts.
As with all of Wayne Ngan's work, I appreciate the variety and his extraordinary skill of what he made. I've referred to Wayne as "Canada's Shoji Hamada" and his tea bowls are a fine example of why...
If you have one or more pieces of Wayne Ngan pottery to sell, please take the time to contact me here.
Studio Pottery Canada
Pottery enthusiast learning about the history of this Canadian art form and curating samples from the best in the field pre-1980.