Japanese Ceramic Orders


Starting at the end of the 16th century, Japanese collectors frequently commissioned tea bowls from Joseon kilns. The relatively un-ornamented, natural appearance of Korean-made pottery was well-suited to the so-called wabi-cha (侘茶) tea ceremony etiquette that was popular at the time. Historical sources such as "Record of Japanese Requests"  and "Inventories of Joseon Ceramics"  help us to better understand the dynamics of this trade in ceramics. "Inventories of Joseon Ceramics" for example, reads like a modern-day shopping catalog, illustrating the shape, dimensions and patterns of Joseon ceramic samples.


Various samples of the tea bowls (dawan) were brought in. After searching for adequate potter artisans, white clay, and firewood it was proposed that the ceramics be fired at the kilns near the Waegwan. In response, the officials recruited potters from Hadong and Jinju to produce ceramics in kilns outside the Waegwan.


各樣茶碗各其見樣渠自持來要得匠人及燒木等物館中造作爲良結言設爲白去乙巡察使分付河東晉州匠人磻造作次以倭館外窯龜造作爲白臥乎事


-Waein Gucheong Deungnok (Record of Japanese Request)* , 16th day of the 8th month, 1639 (17th year of King Injo’s Reign)-

*Record of Japanese Requests (倭人求請謄錄) is a record of requests for import goods from Joseon submitted by the ruler of Daemado (Tsushima Island, 對馬島) who served as an intermediary for trade with the Japanese Shogunate.

Inventories of Joseon Ceramics (諸方御好之御燒物御注文㨨)

Joseon dynasty, 1713, National Institute of Korean History ⓒNational Institute of Korean History

Japan frequently requested ceramics manufactured in Korea but where exactly were these export ceramics produced?


Scholars suspect that most export ceramics were fired at kilns near the Waegwan (倭館)In particular, some exported ceramics can be traced to a kiln site in Ungcheon(熊川) in the area of present-day Jinhae (鎭海) in South Gyeongsang province (慶尙道). In addition to the geographical location, the term ungcheon is also used to refer to a type of tea bowl with a round base.

Tea Bowl from Ungcheon (熊川茶碗)

Joseon dynasty, 16-17th century, H. 6.8cm, (mouth) D. 12.4cm, (bottom) D. 5cm, Tokyo National Museum of Japan (TG-2382) ⓒColBase (https://colbase.nich.go.jp/)

Below are other Tea bowls that were produced in Joseon for export to Japan

Let’s Think About It


Tea bowls made in Joseon were very popular in Japan where they were referred to as Kōrai chawan (高麗茶碗).

Bowls that were particularly highly prized were also given individual names.

What types of names did Japanese collectors choose for their treasured Joseon tea bowls?


Short Cut

Japanese Ceramic Orders


Starting at the end of the 16th century, Japanese collectors frequently commissioned tea bowls from Joseon kilns.

The relatively un-ornamented, natural appearance of Korean-made pottery was well-suited 

to the so-called wabi-cha (侘茶) tea ceremony etiquette that was popular at the time.

Historical sources such as "Record of Japanese Requests"  and "Inventories of Joseon Ceramics"  help us to better understand the dynamics of this trade in ceramics.

"Inventories of Joseon Ceramics" for example, reads like a modern-day shopping catalog, illustrating the shape, dimensions and patterns of Joseon ceramic samples.


Various samples of the tea bowls(dawan) were brought in. After searching for adequate potter artisans, white clay, and firewood it was proposed that the ceramics be fired at the kilns near the Waegwan. In response, the officials recruited potters from Hadong and Jinju to produce ceramics in kilns outside the Waegwan.

各樣茶碗各其見樣渠自持來要得匠人及燒木等物館中造作爲良結言設爲白去乙巡察使分付河東晉州匠人磻造作次以倭館外窯龜造作爲白臥乎事


-Waein Gucheong Deungnok 

(Record of Japanese Request)* , 

16th day of the 8th month, 1639 (17th year of King Injo’s Reign)-

*Record of Japanese Requests (倭人求請謄錄) is a record of requests for import goods from Joseon submitted by the ruler of Daemado (Tsushima Island, 對馬島) who served as an intermediary for trade with the Japanese Shogunate.

Inventories of Joseon Ceramics (諸方御好之御燒物御注文㨨)

Joseon dynasty, 1713, National Institute of Korean History ⓒNational Institute of Korean History

For further information about the Inventories of Joseon Ceramics,

You may press the link above to visit the Archives of Korean History “Inventories of Joseon Ceramics” Section

Japan frequently requested ceramics manufactured in Korea but where exactly were these export ceramics produced?

Scholars suspect that most export ceramics were fired at kilns near the Waegwan (倭館).

In particular, some exported ceramics can be traced to a kiln site in Ungcheon(熊川) in the area of present-day Jinhae (鎭海) in South Gyeongsang province (慶尙道).

In addition to the geographical location, the term ungcheon is also used to refer to a type of tea bowl with a round base.

Tea Bowl from Ungcheon (熊川茶碗)

Joseon dynasty, 16-17th century, H. 6.8cm, (mouth) D. 12.4cm, (bottom) D. 5cm, Tokyo National Museum of Japan(TG-2382) ⓒColBase (https://colbase.nich.go.jp/) 

Below are other Tea bowls
that were produced in Joseon for export to Japan

Let’s Think About It


Tea bowls made in Joseon were very popular in Japan where they were referred to as Kōrai chawan (高麗茶碗).

Bowls that were particularly highly prized were also given individual names.

What types of names did Japanese collectors choose for their treasured Joseon tea bowls?


Short Cut