Japanese teacups are more than just a vessel for drinking tea; they are true works of art that reflect the rich culture and subtle aesthetics of Japan. Each cup is carefully designed to provide a unique tea drinking experience, and different categories of Japanese tea cups have evolved over time to meet different needs and styles.
Japanese tea ceremony bowls, known as "chawan", are special cups used in the Japanese tea ceremony, also called "chanoyu". These bowls are often handmade by artisan potters and are characterized by their unique shape and texture. Tea ceremony bowls are usually larger than regular tea cups, allowing the drinker to hold the bowl with both hands while sipping tea. The designs and glazes used on these bowls are often simple and natural, emphasizing the beauty of imperfections and simplicity.
Japanese "yunomi" tea cups are the most commonly used cups in Japan for everyday tea drinking. They are often made of ceramic and are of medium size, with a cylindrical shape and a slightly flared rim. Yunomi cups are often decorated with traditional Japanese designs, such as flowers, waves or landscapes. These designs add a touch of elegance to the cup and create a pleasant atmosphere while drinking tea. The yunomi is designed to be held with one hand, making it convenient and easy to use in everyday life.
Japanese tea cups are equipped with a lid, known as "chawanmushi". These cups are mainly used to prepare and serve "chawanmushi", a savory egg custard. The lid keeps the heat inside the cup while cooking the flan, and it can also be used to prevent the ingredients from floating to the surface while cooking. Lidded tea cups are often made of delicate porcelain, which adds a touch of elegance to the presentation of chawanmushi.
Japanese tea cups with handles, called "kyusu", are specifically designed for the preparation of Japanese green tea. Kyusu have a slender shape and are usually made of ceramic. They have a handle on the side for easy handling and precise pouring of tea. Kyusu's often have a curved spout, which allows the tea to be poured without splashing or dripping. Tea lovers appreciate kyusu for their ease of use and delicate aesthetic.