This glazed pottery chawan, or tea bowl, is stored in a plain wood box with black ink kanji characters and a signature in red ink. The lid is slightly warped, and a blue-and-orange cloth ribbon is attached for closure. There is yellow cloth inside for packing. The chawan is made of orange terracotta clay. The base is unglazed, but the body is glazed in light gray/brown with a black stylized plant and hash marks. This chawan may have been used in a tea ceremony.
The tea ceremony is a tea-making ritual from Japan (and practiced less frequently in China and Korea). At a very basic level, tea ceremonies are a formalized way of making a hot drink, through a process that has been refined to yield the best taste. In Japanese, the tea ceremony is referred to as the "chadō," literally "the Way of Tea," or "cha-no-yu" ("tea water"). In keeping with this Way of Tea, in the ceremony, tea essentially becomes more than just a drink: the tea ceremony is understood and practiced to foster harmony in humanity and with nature, and to discipline the mind, quiet the heart, and attain the purity of enlightenment.
It was donated to the Boston Children's Museum by Dr. You Mima of the Citizens of Kyoto, Japan in 1976 to honor the Boston–Kyoto Sister City relationship and the move of The Japanese House to Boston.