Monday, February 13, 2012

Two small cups by Yoo Tae-Keun

During preparation of the TongECha post for this blog, going through our collection, my eyes rested on two cups. Two small, extraordinary goblets created by Korean ceramic master Yoo Tae Keun.

Those cups are the only ones in our collection, where the surface is not bare clay nor glazed. Mr. Yoo has used here, for finishing the surface, the urushi. The Urushi is Japanese term and also the technique is famous as Japanese. Despite that fact there are many historical as well as modern Korean works using Chinesse lacquer three sap to create natural varnish called urushi. As many others, technique of urushi came to Japan from China thru Korea. And as many others, Koreans have used this knowledge and craft in their unique way.

We got those cups as a generous and valued gift during our first visit of Korea from Mr.Yoo. Those cups are not for daily use for me. For their special look and feeling I present them during special occasions. The lacquer gold combination represents luxury. But it necessarily doesn't have to be  luxury of wealth. There are also luxuries of time and friendship. The Luxury of freedom. By cleaning, preheating and filling those cups with high-end tea I bring out consciousness of those Luxuries.

Cups are light and with almost not-ceramic touch. I like to use them on more earthy, stoneware saucers. It brings harmony. Shape of the cups is simple and let's say humble. Regardless the urushi and the gold cups still do not protrude. When you raise them up to your lips then the preciousness of the moment shows up.

  To meet Mr.Yoo, to see his kiln and to visit gallery belong to those memories, which one will not forget. His ability to follow traditional ways with fresh and modern spirit is admirable. I wish to go this way too...

Pictures of Yoo's kiln, gallery, himself and bowls full of sun....

Thank you for reading!


  1. This cups are very beautiful. Yes, they give a feeling of freedom...

  2. Letizia, Thank you very much for your comment. Sometime small things do represent great ones.

    I will keep my eye on your blog, it is nice to see a part of the tea live in Italy this way


  3. There are also silver lined cups as well, although I think the silver tend to be thicker than the gold.

  4. Yes, I have seen some urushi works with silver (on Japanese, wooden pieces)I would like to see the process live.

    Thank you for stopping by