Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cups, Mugs, and Drinking Vessels

I got a new mug today :3

typically i'm not the type of person to buy red things. the amount of things that are red that i own can be counted on one hand. But this mug caught my eye. i don't know if it's because the nifty glazing that is around the rim that i can't seem to get a good picture of, or the fact that the mug is stamped with ginkgo leaf patterns. It could even be it's adorable size and the fact that the thumb-hold is half way down so it makes wrapping the rest of the hand under the mug so easy. But i think this mug will become one of my favorites rather fast.

I have a variety of drinking vessels as it is. they range from the typical coffee mug with pictures or phrases on them, to the normal English tea-cup. I have fancy double-walled mugs and low, almost matcha-bowl-esque mugs. But i haven't really picked them because i felt inexplicably drawn to them. Maybe it's because they weren't hand made... hmm.

There are many vessel types that tea can be enjoyed in. They might vary in name from place to place but their purpose remains constant. They exist to transfer the delicious experience of tea from the pot to our mouths. While the people that speak English might refer to these vessels as mugs, cups, or glasses those that speak Japanese would differentiate the vessels by their size and use.

Matcha bowls, or chawan are short, squat, bowl-ish drinking vessels. They are always wider than they are tall, allowing for easier whisking of the matcha into a delicious froth. Yunomi on the other hand, are similar to the chawan since they do not have handles, but are taller than they are wide. Both can vary in size from small to larger.

Chinese teacups seem to typically be much smaller in size. I've read that originally the Chinese did not use cups, and instead poured the tea straight from the pot into their mouths. it was only when the English came that they started to use cups. I'm not sure about how true this is, but it still does not change the fact that most Chinese teacups are small, holding usually somewhere around 30ml. They are typically only used with yixing pots or gaiwan.

Most other Asian countries seem to follow china and japan in relation to what their tea-drinking-vessels look like. This is most likely because of their involvement in the spreading of tea and tea-drinking. There is even a Museum of Tea Ware in Hong Kong.

I've yet to decide what i should 'christen' my new mug with. I've got a lot of oolongs yet to review, but the days are becoming hotter, leading me to ice down more of what I'm drinking. Do any of you have a favorite mug/cup/glass? why is it your favorite? does it hold a special memory? I'm curious to know!

I have to give props to Scott Frankenberger who made my lovely mug, and to Artist's Own, for having such a neat store. Bottoms up to ya'll!

1 comment:

  1. Is that your keyboard!? That is AWESOME haha the mug is nice too :D


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