When Jirka Duchek applied for an expedition to China in 2017, I had to study
area where we could find pottery known as “Tenmoku” – Heavenly Eye (in Chinese Tianmuzhan 天目珠). It is one of the iconic Chinese glazes, used most often on tea ceramics. It also enjoys special respect in Japan, where the original bowls from the 16th century have been preserved to this day. On my expedition, we visited a 150m long dragon kiln (uphill) in the Wuyi Mountains area, where tens of thousands of tenmoku bowls and various ceramics were once fired during the Ming Dynasty. The most beautiful went to the imperial court. Jirka declared: “there will surely be some fragments in that stream under the furnace!”. We were immediately hit by “tenmoku fever”. After a while, all eight of us were splashing knee-deep in the stream, rolling away boulders with a vision of a stray bowl. After an hour, everyone managed to find several beautiful pieces. But you can also meet tenmoku ceramics in Bohemia, precisely in the “pottery near Duchkovy”, where you can also find fragments of our stream research. During the expedition, I discovered that Jirka approaches ceramics with unprecedented precision and the skill of the old masters. I don’t know any other potters who dig clay in the forest or tunnel and make their own clay, which they leave to ripen all year round. That is why I consider Jirk’s work a work of art. His teapots and bowls are precise, and it’s a joy to prepare tea in them.