“Japan Spirit and Form”

While watching the documentary “Japan Spirit and Form” ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSP6Ec7kJbo ), answer the following 4 questions. Your answers should be at least 2 sentences for each question.

It introduces the aesthetic and history of Japanese tea bowls and the concept of wabi-sabi (a world view and aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection), and relates wabi-sabi to very different Western traditions. I’m hoping this might offer a refreshingly different perspective on life and our environment during these trying times!

At about the 20 minute mark, the documentary begins to describe glazes and later a “raku” firing technique. Keep watching!! It’s very interesting, and goes deeper into the philosophy of this approach to art-making, but we won’t be able to use those glazes or raku these this semester. Instead, we’ll be glazing all the tea bowls with a more functional high-fire “shino” glaze, which is another traditional Japanese tea bowl glaze with a similar wabi-sabi aesthetic.

You are now ready to make your own tea bowls. Use one of the traditional techniques described below, or try all three! Each piece must have a distinct foot. Make sure you consider the relationship between the interior and exterior of your form, as well as the rim of your bowl.

The featured artist from “Japan: Spirit and Form” creates his pieces through pinching, with reductive carving techniques to shape the foot and interior. He doesn’t use exactly the same tools as you have, but close enough.

1. According to Shuichi Keto, what is the significance of the tea bowl?

2. How does Kichizaemon Raku XV describe his approaching to deciding on the final form of his bowls?

3. According to Shuichi Keto, why did Europeans initially not appreciate the simple aesthetic of the Japanese tea bowl?

4. Why did Kichizaeomon Raku XV leave behind his studies of traditional Western sculpture and return to his family’s pottery?