An Edo Period Black Oribe Tea Bowl


Living in Kyoto it is not uncommon to come across beautiful antique tea bowls, however, finding pieces that are in good condition, aesthetically compelling, and with all of the trappings that let you know they were cared for by a devoted cha-jin can be quite challenging. Here we see all three. The shape of this tea bowl is exquisite and something I have not seen before in an Oribe piece. The lacquer box, while not the original was undoubtedly custom made for this tea bowl and looks to be 100 – 200 years old. Inside the box we find bumper cushions on each corner and a matching protective pouch (shifuku). The tea bowl itself is in excellent condition and, judging from the clay on the base and the trappings that would have been furnished well after date of production, we can guess that this piece is from early-to-mid Edo (300+ years old).

In fine antique condition, the tea bowl is 6.9 inches in width (17.5cm) and stands 2.5 inches tall (6.4cm). As mentioned above, it comes housed in an exceptionally well-crafted antique lacquered wood box with custom made bumpers for each corner and a matching protective pouch for the tea bowl. Inside the tea bowl is a white custom crafted cushion that you only tend to see for exceptional works cared for by experienced cha-jin. On the outside of the box we also see a descriptive label with a stamp letting us know that the previous owner was not just a tea practitioner, but likely a collector and/ or conservator of Japanese tea-ware.