I made a few of these with the intention of using them for Chinese tea brewing but they could be used for any number of pouring activities. In Chinese tea the tea gets poured from the teapot into a vessel like this to fully mix the brewed tea before serving. Often the final portion of the tea in the pot is stronger than the top so this ensures everyone gets a nice cup of tea!
This vessel is unglazed. You can see the effect of the fire on the outside and the protected clay on the inside. I scratched some circles on the outside with a small bamboo branch. There is a tradition of scratching x’s on Shigaraki pots. I’ve been told the intention was to keep the contents safe from spirits or prying hands. I’ve examined many traditional examples and love the freeness with which the clay is scratched: they are done quickly and loosely. I did some x’s on pots but also o’s. The x’s felt a bit protectionist to me sometimes and I wanted a more open sign. The o’s are also a reference to the Buddhist Enso sign which signifies the moment when your mind is clear and free from thought.