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Japanese Bowls

Japanese bowls were used for three main purposes: eating, tea-drinking, and ceremony. For eating and drinking, Japanese bowls are referred to as “chawan." Singing bowls used during ceremony to assist with chanting and meditation are called “suzu” and are actually bells or gongs.

Japanese food chawan are used mainly for consuming noodles, rice, or soup. They can make exceptional decorative pieces or can be used for dining. These bowls are made out of plastic, ceramic, or lacquered wood. Japanese techniques for bowl making have been picked up historically from Chinese bowl making, so similarities between cloisonne, porcelain, and other decorative techniques can be seen between the two cultures.

Because gold was abundant in Japan during the mid-17th century, Japanese bowls often were adorned with gold decorations. Imari porcelains were particularly popular as exports to the Western world during this time. Imari porcelain bowls are characterized by their use of cobalt blue, red, and gold. This color combination is unique to Japan and is therefore highly sought after even now.


Quick Facts

  • In forming bowls, whether for food or drink, Japanese potters were able to make very symmetrical and precise decorations. However, especially for ceremonial purposes, imperfections were elevated as unique identifying features
  • Rather than delicate porcelain cups, the Japanese preferred dark, thick-walled bowls for drinking tea. The thicker walls were preferred for the ability to retain heat
  • Donburi are deep, oversized Japanese rice bowls used to serve foods like fish, meat, or vegetables that are all cooked together and then served over steamed rice. Donburi meals are, to this day, considered Japanese comfort food

Recommended Items at Auction

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A Japanese Ceramic Black & White Asymmetrical Art Bowl
Oct 31, 11:00 AM AEDT
A Japanese Ceramic Black & White Asymmetrical Art Bowl
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Est: AUD40- AUD60
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THREE CHINESE ROBES AND A JAPANESE KIMONO 19th to early 20th century (4)
Nov 01, 10:00 AM GMT
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Grouping of Japanese Satsuma.
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Grouping of Japanese Satsuma.
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Film Poster My Neighbour Tortoro Japan Anime Studio Ghibli
Nov 13, 2:00 PM GMT
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Whiting Sterling Silver Japanese Pattern Flatware Service
Nov 03, 10:00 AM EDT
Whiting Sterling Silver Japanese Pattern Flatware Service
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Akihiro Nikaido Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Bowl
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Akihiro Nikaido Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Bowl
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Est: $400- $600
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Akihiro Nikaido Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Bowl
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Akihiro Nikaido Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Bowl
by Showplace
Est: $400- $600
$1000 Bids
Akiko Hirai (Japanese 1970-) Sake Bottle
Oct 29, 10:00 AM BST
Akiko Hirai (Japanese 1970-) Sake Bottle
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Est: £300- £500
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pair of cover vessels/ rice bowls, Japan, around
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
pair of cover vessels/ rice bowls, Japan, around
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Est: €200- €400
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Japanese import bowl designed for Macys
Nov 01, 11:30 PM EDT
Japanese import bowl designed for Macys
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Est: $125- $150
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A Japanese Satsuma Bowl Kusube Nanbu Mark
Oct 30, 9:30 AM EDT
A Japanese Satsuma Bowl Kusube Nanbu Mark
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Est: $50- $100
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Morita Haruyo Masatsune Japanese Serigraph
Oct 30, 9:30 AM EDT
Morita Haruyo Masatsune Japanese Serigraph
by Luban Antique
Est: $100- $500
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Morita Haruyo Yachiyo Japanese Serigraph
Oct 30, 9:30 AM EDT
Morita Haruyo Yachiyo Japanese Serigraph
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Est: $100- $500
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Colorful Japanese ceramic bowl Handmade painting Signed diameter 15.5 Height 5 cm
Oct 31, 8:00 PM EET
Colorful Japanese ceramic bowl Handmade painting Signed diameter 15.5 Height 5 cm
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Est: $30- $60
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Japanese porcelain bowl with illustration of a Meiji period dragon diameter 18 height 8.5 cm
Oct 31, 8:00 PM EET
Japanese porcelain bowl with illustration of a Meiji period dragon diameter 18 height 8.5 cm
by Village Gallery Israel
Est: $90- $180
$600 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Japanese Bowls


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