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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Grant

The Humble Teaware Master

Simplicity. That’s what makes Korean teaware stand out from its Chinese and Japanese counterparts. Korean teaware does not boast of elaborate designs, but focuses on being functional and natural. If there is one person who understands the essence of Korean teaware making, that person is Park Jong Il.

Park Jong Il lives high on the mountains, and his studio and kiln are conveniently located close to his house. Nearby forests provide him wood to fire his teaware, so it is no wonder that all of Park Jong Il’s work displays nature in its simplest form.

When talking about Korean teaware, much attention is paid to its function. For instance, it is important that tea cups and bowls are nice to hold, pleasurable to sip from, and stable enough to rest on a table without extra effort. On the other hand, the natural aspect of Korean teaware esteems irregularities and even blemishes, because these are the marks of natural pieces of art.

Park Jong Il crafts these masterpieces every day, and each piece is unique. When commenting on Park Jong Il’s chawans (tea cups), a blogger wrote, “his chawan are like a group of people that might attend a gathering to celebrate tea. Some are masculine, some are feminine, some are more rugged looking than others – I think you get the picture.” This goes to show the care that Park Jong Il gives to each individual piece of teaware.

Park Jong Il’s teaware has been sold to tea lovers all around the world, and some Chinese tea connoisseurs even prefer using his teapots over YiXing teapots. His studio and kiln have also become a regular stop for Korean tea tours.

All in all, Park Jong Il’s works of art speak for themselves, which is why he is truly “The Humble Teaware Master.”


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