Here is a short blurb on Okugorai chawan, the most famous of the Karatsu chawan, which were the Karatsu answer to the Korean O-Ido bowls (previously the name Okugorai alluded to the fact that scholars were not sure of the provenance (Karatsu or Korea)). Probably the biggest difference is that the Okugorai bowls were made for tea, because all of the other differences in appearance still follow the same aesthetic of beauty that the O-Ido bowls do.
The real debate begins when collectors, critics, and scholars get together and talk about which bowls fall into the Okugorai category, and which are just simply Kogaratsu (Old Karatsu). That’s pretty much a quagmire, and not really significant, unless you’re a collector of some kind, in which case you probably already know more than I do.
The points I want to stress today are the characteristics of the Okugorai bowls, these bowls exhibit just about every trait that is desirable in Karatsu ware, and much of what is sought after by makers and collectors alike can be seen in them. Okugorai bowls are generally larger in size, like the O-Ido bowls.
1. Me-ato: The spots left on the interior of the pot from the wadding used to separate pots when they are stacked in one another and fired.
2. Kannyu: Crackle in the glaze which absorbs minerals and tea tannins over time, and becomes accentuated.
3. Koshoku: Lit. ‘old color’. The color changes in the glaze and clay that occur over time and use.
4. Tsuchimi/Tsuchiaji: The unglazed area of the pot, which shows the bare clay. Tsuchiaji is the ‘flavor of the clay’, some clays have good tsuchiaji, others have none (are uninteresting).
5. Kairagi: Lit. ‘plum tree bark’. The crawling in the glaze which occurs over the trimmed parts of the bowl. Resembles the bark of a plum tree.
6.Chirimenjiwa: Lit. ‘crepe wrinkling’. Crinkling and tearing of the clay where it has been trimmed. Resembles the wrinkling of crepe cloth.
7. Yu-kire: Places on the surface where the glaze has dropped off or pulled back to reveal a bare spot.
8. Yubi ato: Fingerprints or smudges where the potters fingers slid as he placed the pot on the ware board and released it and pulled his/her hand away.
9. Ishihaze: Eruptions in the surface of the clay caused when the clay shrinks around a silica or feldspar stone, making it appear as if the stone is erupting from the surface.