Otagaki Rengetsu | Teabowl
Chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony, which originated in fifteenth-century Kyoto, began as a pastime of the elites - high-ranking warriors, Buddhist monks and aristocrats. By the late sixteenth century, wealthy well-educated urban merchants also participated, one of whom, Sen no Rikyu, codified the now familiar Zen-influenced aesthetic identity for Chanoyu that celebrates rusticity, austerity and simplicity. By Rengetsu's time, the diverse participants in Chanoyu obtained utensils from orthodox potter lineages such as Raku, used vessels they made themselves as self-taught amateurs, of obtained them from new sources that included provincial kilns and workshops of independent potters, among them nuns such as Rengetsu. (Patricia J. Graham: Otagaki Rengetsu and the Japanese Tea Ceremony, in: Black Robe White Mist, 2007, pp. 63-64).
The poem on the bowl reads:
A growing melon...
if love will flourish or wither?
As if a bow from a white spindle tree
I will try to pull his heart and see.
Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875)
Diam. 12.6 x 6.2 cm (2½ x 5 in.)