Yuichi Murakami makes pottery in Toki City, Gifu Prefecture, the place of Mino ware production.
In our last article, we introduced "Makai," a beautiful bowl filled with Murakami's dedication.
One of the most attractive features of makai is its beautifully colored "celadon" and "rice-colored celadon" glazes.
There is another famous series of tableware by Mr. Murakami that uses these two glazes.
The name is "Namasu flat bowl."
This tableware goes well with all kinds of dishes and shows its variety of use.
In this article, we asked Mr. Murakami to share with us the recommended way to use of "Namasu flat bowl."
"The best Namasu" said Mr. Murakami.
A Namasu flat bowl has been used to serve "Namasu" as the name implies.
Namasu is a Japanese dish in which fish, shellfish, vegetables, etc. are chopped into thin strips and mixed raw with seasoning and vinegar.
It is deep enough to easily serve soupy dishes and has a slightly raised rim.
It is said that most of them are around 15cm.
Mr. Murakami began working on Namasu flat bowls more than 10 years ago.
At first, he worked on kohiki and Mishima-te Namasu flat bowls, but eventually he found his way to porcelain Namasu flat bowls like the ones we see today.
Smiling, Murakami says,
"I can confidently recommend this current shape as the best porcelain Namasu dish."
He was attracted by the shape of a large bowl from the Northern Song dynasty in China that he came across one day, and made a smaller copy of it.
While maintaining the essence of the beauty of the shapes, he have brushed up the products to blend in with today's daily dining tables.
Easy to use and beautiful to see.
The simple appearance hides a variety of functions.
For example, the naturally smooth and swollen body of the bowl is not only beautiful to look at, but also catches the spoon and chopsticks just right, allowing even soupy dishes to be eaten cleanly at the last scoop.
The slightly protruding mouth rim above the bulge is also a result of Mr. Murakami's calculation. The mouth feel is good, allowing you to fully enjoy the soup.
The Namasu flat bowl is also useful as tableware for children, as it is good with soupy foods and with a spoon.
According to Mr. Murakami, "The flat bottom is also one of the key points I recommend. Unlike bowls that have a curve at the bottom, the flat bottom makes it much easier to serve the food."
Make every cuisines looks beautiful.
The curved, irregular form is beautiful even when stacked, and the meaning of daily use has been thoroughly pursued. Such as microwave and dishwasher safe.
The realization of Mr. Murakami's "ideal" Namasu dish was possible only with the cooperation of Mr. Taki, a craftsman in Mino, as well as Makai, whom we introduced last time.
"If I had handcrafted this shape one by one on a potter's wheel, it would have taken a lot of time and, above all, would have been difficult. I think I was able to achieve this ideal shape because of working with highly skilled craftsmen to create it."
Of course, it is not only the shape that is beautiful. The ability of celadon and rice-colored celadon makes the tableware not only beautiful as a stand-alone piece, but also compatible with a wide variety of tableware and dishes.
We asked Mr. Murakami what kind of dishes he recommends serving with such a carefully considered masterpiece.
Feel right, you want to use it every day.
"The first thing I'd like to mention is serving bowls for hot pot dishes. As the weather gets colder, it may appear at least three times a week in our house. It's a great way to drink up the soup."
"If you have a soupy dish, a soup curry is perfect. I use one to serve curry and the other to serve rice. They are also good for breakfast cereal. It's easy to scoop because it's got a little something to catch on to."
"It looks great with meat dishes such as spare ribs, as well as salad, boiled vegetables with dashi, and potato salad. It is also perfect for desserts such as fruit, ice cream, and shaved ice. Regardless of the genre or color of your food, you will want to use this tableware for every meal every day."
Coming up with tableware that he wants to make one after another.
In his ceramics, Mr. Murakami pursues beauty in everyday life and values that will endure over time.
In closing, when ask about tableware he would like to make in the future, he answered with a smile, "There are so many things I would like to do."
"I would like to deepen the braiding technique I call 'Neje-neji,' and eventually I would like to do Shigaraki as well. I am also planning to build a wood-fired kiln in the mountains behind my house, and I am in the process of preparing the land myself."
"I will stick to my own way of making Mingei! I will continue to make products because I believe that simple designs can transcend the times. I think there will be many obstacles to continue making it, such as a shortage of labor, depletion of raw materials, and the loss of fabric makers. But I have made up my mind that I will continue to make them just like knee chairs! I will not change the design of this tableware any more."
He spoke excitedly, holding the lots of materials he had collected for his study.
In fact, we are also planning a project for Mr. Murakami x AMAHARE's original tableware.
We will let you know when we have something to announce, so please look forward to it!