In a play of contrasts and counter-balances, this Ichi presents a smoothly domed rim, and a particularly crisp plateau at the shank-end; direct lines at the shank’s underside and the forward face of the bowl, and smooth, cresting curves to the upper surface and rear face of each, respectively. Juggling all that and still coming up with a shape that looks natural and properly put-together does not strike me as an easy job, but it is nonetheless a job Ichi Kitahara pulled off with aplomb. The result is a profile that balances the taut with the pliant perfectly – coincidentally, reminiscent of the same way I was taught to best keep your muscles at the ready to act, react, take a hit and avoid over-extension; by keeping them just at that balancing point between tense, and relaxed.
All that having been said, I would not recommend sparring with this briar. It wouldn’t do to mar that beautiful grain, after all.
-Eric N. Squires