Reflection: I was, I am, I will be
How would you answer Chanel Miller’s “I was, I am, I will be” prompt? Would your answers look like Miller’s, or would they look different?
This is a container to hold cold, fresh water made especially for use in the Japanese tea gathering. Its shape reminds us of a wooden bucket used to carry water from a well, but it is made out of porcelain, a glazed ceramic fired at a high temperature so that the clay becomes extremely hard and the surface glassy.
The tea host places fresh, cold water inside this vessel to be used during the tea gathering. At a certain point the host removes the lid, placing it alongside the vessel, and scoops fresh water to add to the boiling water in the kettle. This might be done to replenish water used, or to cool the temperature if the water is too hot. Water from this vessel is also used to clean the tea bowl after the guests have drunk tea.
This water container was made in China by Chinese artists. Japanese tea people communicated to Chinese artists specifically the shapes and types of utensils they desired. The Japanese customers loved rustic art works, and the rough spots on this water jar were admired. In China, the preference was for symmetry and perfection in ceramic arts; this piece would likely have been scorned.
This jar is covered with auspicious symbols of immortality, wealth, and happiness. What animals and plants can you recognize? Some of these symbols include: