What Is The Difference Between Japanese Kintsugi And Yunomi Cups?

by Bunka Japan May 21, 2021 6 min read

We throw away a mug, teapot, or priceless vase bitterly and regretfully as it falls and splits into a thousand pieces. However, there is an alternative: a Japanese technique that emphasizes and reinforces the splits, thus increasing the worth of the broken piece. It's named kintsugi (), or kintsukuroi (), which means "golden repair" in Japanese.

This traditional Japanese art uses a precious metal – liquid gold, liquid silver, or lacquer dusted with powdered gold – to pull together and enhance the breaks in a broken pottery object.

The method entails joining fragments and giving them a new, polished appearance. Because of the randomness with which ceramics shatters and the unusual patterns that result from the use of metals, each restored piece is one-of-a-kind.

 

The Scars Become The Thing To Flaunt

Kintsugi Ceramic Bowl In Blue

The distinctive cracks created as the object fractures, as if they were wounds that leave distinct markings on each of us, make it possible to produce real and often different pieces of art, each with its own tale and elegance, using this technique.

 

The Origins Of The Kintsugi Technique, As Well As Its Significance

Urushi lacquer, which has been sourced from the Rhus verniciflua plant for thousands of years, has historically been used as a glue to hold the pieces together.

It has been used in China for thousands of years, though archaeologists discovered combs and lacquered trays used in the Jomon period around 5,000 years ago in Japan's Shimahama Tomb in Fukui Prefecture.

Originally, this sticky sap was used to make battle and hunting weapons due to its elastic properties.

After losing his favorite cup of tea, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the eighth shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate, sent it to China to be restored. The kintsugi technique may have been developed around the fifteenth century.

Unfortunately, the objects were restored with unsightly and inconvenient metal ligatures at the period. The cup seemed to be beyond repair, but its owner agreed to have it repaired by Japanese craftsmen.

They were so taken aback by the shogun's resolve that they wanted to transform the cup into a gem by covering the holes with lacquered resin and powdered gold.

Since the discovery of kintsugi occurred during a time in Japan when art was flourishing, the legend seems likely. Yoshimasa's reign saw the rise of the Higashiyama Bunka cultural movement, which was strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism and gave birth to the tea ceremony (also known as Sado or the Way of Tea) and ikebana (also known as Kado, or the Way of Flowers) rituals, as well as the Noh theater, a Chinese style of ink painting.

With the various steps and drying time needed, even today, repairing the largest and most polished pieces of ceramics using the kintsugi technique will take up to a month.

 

How Many Lovely Notes Does The Kintsugi Technique Send Out?

 Kintsugi Ceramic Tea Cups In White

Many things are suggested by the kintsugi approach. Broken items need not be discarded. When something fails, that doesn't mean it can't be used anymore. Its shattered pieces may be worth a lot of money.

We should attempt to restore problems, and doing so will often result in the acquisition of more useful items. Resilience is described as the ability to bounce back from adversity.

Kintsugi philosophy taught any of us that we should seek out a constructive way to deal with stressful situations, learn from painful experiences, make the best of them, and remind ourselves that it is precisely these experiences that make each person special and valuable. Here are top 10 Kintsugi quotes that will motivate you throughout your life.

 

The Methods Of Kintsugi

Repair Methods Of Kintsugi

Kintsugi is divided into three styles: crack, piece method, and joint-call. While gold, silver, or platinum-dusted epoxy is used to repair the broken pottery in each case, the methods and final results differ.

The Crack Method

Objects that have been repaired from cracking are given a light coat of lacquer to finish them off. This is the most common Kintsugi technique, and it results in the shimmering veins that have become synonymous with the art form.

The Pieces Method

Replacement pieces rendered entirely of epoxy are used in works reconstructed using the piecing technique.

The Joint-Call Method

Parts patched using the joint-call method combine two aesthetically distinct works into one beautifully cohesive product by using equally formed pieces from other broken wares.

 

The Yunomi Tea Cup

 The Japanese Yunomi Tea Cups

Yunomi tea cupsare medium-sized teacups that hold 90 to 160 ml of tea. They are the most commonly used teacups in Japan, and they can be used in almost every restaurant and household. In contrast to the chawan, which is used for more organized Japanese tea rituals like Japanese tea ceremony, Yunomi cups are used for daily tea drinking.

Yunomi tea cups are available in a variety of types, including stoneware, porcelain, glazed, and unglazed teacups.

Yunomi tea cups in the Hagi style — glazed stoneware — are said to have a similar effect to Yixing clay teaware, in which the teacup develops its own flavor when you drink tea from it.

Yunomi tea cups have long been a common gift for both Japanese and international visitors to Japan. Due to the wide range of styles in which Yunomi teacups are produced, there are many Yunomi teacup collectors all over the world.

"Couple teacups" are Meoto Yunomi's teacups. They are sold in pairs and are made in the same style, with the exception that one (the "husband" teacup) is slightly larger than the other ("wife" teacup). In Japan, they are a very traditional wedding gift.

 

Different Varieties Of The Yumoni Tea Cups

 Different Types Of Yunomi Tea Cups

  • Hagi

    Hagi is a glazed type of stoneware that is preferred by many Japanese. It is derived from the traditional Korean pottery style. After a large number of Koreans were transported to Japan during the late 15th-century pottery war, these teacups became increasingly popular. One of the most well-known Japanese teacups is the Hagi-style Yunomi teacup, which has a milky, white-glazed effect.
  • Karatsu

    Nakazato Muan, a well-known Japanese potter, resurrected these high-fired ceramic teacups with under-glazed iron painting. From 1895 to 1985, this was the case. Following the introduction of porcelain, these cups' popularity began to wane. They are still widely used today.
  • Shino

    In Japan, this was the very first high-fired white glazed teaware. These teacups are among the most popular in Japan, thanks to the iron oxide brush markings on the feldspar, the material used to create them.
  • Mashiko

    This style of teacup was simply brown in color, thanks to the red glazed clay used to make it. It was named after a town outside of Tokyo that is better known for its pottery. Because the style of these cups has evolved over time, you will most likely come across a variety of Mashiko styles on the market.

 

What Is The Proper Way To Drink Tea From A Yunomi Tea Cup?

 Demonstrate Proper Way To Drink Tea With A Yunomi Tea Cup

Japanese teas are usually served at room temperature rather than steam, as is the case in the United States. Japanese green tea, for example, is served at a temperature ranging from 55 to 80 degrees Celsius. Yunomi teacup would not burn your hands while you grip it because the temperature is too mild. In essence, you warm your hands by cupping them around the teacup while drinking in the cooler months.

There are a few tips to bear in mind for people who aren't used to carrying cups without handles:

  • Avoid entirely overflowing the cup, as this could result in spills. For you to do it easily, your cup should be half full.
  • To prevent burns, never spill boiling water into a Yunomi cup.
  • Picking Yunomi cups by the sides will cause you to get fried. Instead, pick up the cup by the bottom, with two fingers on the cup's foot and the thumb on the rim.
  • If you don't fill your cup halfway, the rim and foot would be too cold for your hands to handle.
  • To put it another way, the most convenient way to drink tea from a Yunomi teacup is with both hands cupped around it.
  • After selecting your cup, keeping the foundation with one hand while holding the horizontally with the other, slowly drink your tea, savoring the scent and taste with each sip.

 

What Teas Are Served In A Yunomi Tea Cup?

Except for matcha, Yunomi tea cups are used to drink almost every kind of tea in Japan. Matcha chawan, on the other hand, is made of.

Sencha, genmaicha, and high-grade gyokuro are some of the most common teas in Japan.

 

The Bottom Line

The taste of any tea is determined by the size, form, and thickness of the cup in which it is roasted and served, as well as the brewing process and consistency of the tea.

It is preferable to have a thin teacup to ensure that you enjoy the delicate and excellent taste of high-grade Japanese teas such as Gyokuro or Sencha. If the teacup's inner wall is white, you can see the subtle differences of color between the various tea varieties.

Yunomi's ideal size ranges from 90ml to 160ml. Unlike the large-sized tea mugs, which are best for black teas, the miniature Yunomi teacups are perfect for high-grade teas like Sencha or green tea because they encourage calm reflection and relaxation.

It is better to pick a Yunomi teacup that complements your personal style. When you drink tea from a Japanese teacup, you are not only able to love the flavor and fragrance of your tea, but you are also able to appreciate the craft.


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