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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NOT a Tea-bowl


English simply does not have a good word to describe this shape.

Glass? Pot? How about ceramic?

I loathe the word ceramic. It sounds so dental, so clinical. It has an engineering ring to it. Keramik sounds East European, and the East Europeans are better at writing plays and making movies than engineering.

Let's face it, archaeology proves that the English were primitives. We took food from wood trenchers, and slurped grog from a mug!

Now mug is an interesting word. Older English ceramics had faces carved on the sides of 'mugs', Mug means 'face', and therein lies the clue to origin - at one point all vessels in Britain were wood, hollowed out of knotty pine. The knots must have come alive as faces.

You see the problem with 'vessel'? It can mean a ship, a pot, or an artery.

Now China, Korea, Japan, they've got a vocabulary for these forms! Endless language for fired clay. Thousands upon thousands of words.

It is a 'pot'. . .  pot is not a good word for something to drink from. Pot is a better descriptor for what we smoke, hence our resistance to change. We'll lose the only good word we have for shapes like this!

Pots are what we cook in, or store in. Hence a cooking pot, or storage pot. Pots are good for slow cooking, chili, stew, or ratatouille.

Beef bourguignon! For that the ideal pot is copper, not clay.

Poor old pot. Such a humble moniker. Pot happens to be half of my last name. William the Conqueror, I wish you'd stayed in France. My name might have been Pembroke, but because my grandfather happened to be making jars the day your minions took census, I got hobbled with Potter for a name.

English is so weak in this area - perhaps it explains why we drink from glasses, not pots.

[I often go looking for my glasses, so that I can find my pot!]

You laugh. This is no joke! Our language is deficient in artistic vocabulary! Now there's a word. Deficient! How could we have a word like deficient, but not a word for what this very useful vessel is.

Water vessel? No. Vessel sounds like something that's dripping, water cup sounds like something cheap you find at a well, that you get cholera from. Or something the doctor gives you to pee in.

A pot describes both what you eat from or sit on, or smoke. Not a precise word.

Definitely not a tub, bucket or cauldron. It's neither a can, or a bottle or a vase, though it could be used as a vase. It's not a jar. Jars have lids.

Can't be a teacup or a coffee cup. Without a handle one couldn't hold hot coffee or tea - you'd burn your hands. I guess the English never much enjoyed cold drinks.

It can't be a teacup, doesn't have a saucer.

Not a wineglass.

Can't be a coffee mug. Too light, no handle. Not good for coffee. Forget demi-tasse that's french for half-cup . . . this is probably 2x your basic 'cup'.

Cups are small, or have handles. Mugs almost always have handles, and are heavier. The heavier the lip the less useful for tea, the more useful for coffee. This design difference comes from the way taste buds are deployed on our tongues. Coffee tastes better from a thick lip, tea from a thinner lip.

Thin pots without handles are not for hot fluids period.

It's not a tea-bowl.

Not a chawan. A lovely word, in Japanese, but doesn't work in English though English speaking potters use chawan a lot to describe bowls for drinking Japanese tea.

The correct Japanese description for the shape is 'tsutsu jawan', but in Japan it's called a 'yunomi jawan', (drinking cup). 'Yunomi' is a perfectly good term, but again, it's not English, and sounds like 'you-know-me'. I'm looking for an English word here!

This pot doesn't have a 'gallery', so therefor it doesn't have a lid.  [A 'gallery' for you non-potters, is the inner lip that supports a lid.]

'Gallery' reminds me of 'balcony',  or in French, 'balcon'. Il ya le monde au balcon! That's French slang for ''She's stacked', or, 'she's got a lot in her balconies.'

No belly, especially not a potbelly. No waist, no shoulder.

It does have a lip, a body and a foot! Yay!

   She had cute lips and a lovely hip
   Oh to get naughty with her nude body!

How useful the word 'body' is! Potters use body to describe a particular mixture of clay.

Let's agree that this remains a nameless, but nevertheless useful design.

I plan to make more. It's ideal for water, cold juice, iced-tea, iced-coffee. But what is it?

A tass? A tallbrut? An umbrot? Perhaps a vessot? Or a tall-ass cup?

Help me please, I need to create a new word!

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