Soba Choko Cups by Yōki-gama

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These soba-choko cups are the work of artist Kimiko Tanaka, at her Yōki-gama kiln in the Tobe-ware ceramic region of Ehime.

The original purpose of soba-choko is as vessels for dipping noodles, but they can also be used as small cups for coffee, or in food presentation.

Each here is adorned with the hand painted design applied by Tanaka. The Tobe-ware tradition in which she works is known for such ‘sometsuke’ brush work, but even within this, Tanaka’s ceramics retain a particular intricacy.

There are around 100 kilns today in the Tobe ceramic area, which has a tradition that began as an off-shoot of Arita porcelain in the 18th century. Small kilns each work in the region’s legacy in making, and in this case are personified by Kimiko Tanaka, whose ceramics are a lone endeavour.

Her pottery mark (reading ‘ki’) can be seen on the base of each piece, while the sides are decorated with floating waves, clouds, and foliage that are each a work of detail from Tanaka’s brush.

There are four designs. As each is handmade and hand painted there can be differences between them. The approximate diameter is 8cm, and the heigh 6cm. The cups weigh around 200g each.

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