The tea bowl, for centuries an icon of Japanese ceramic art, has inspired a number of Western potters to produce their own interpretations in recent decades — but to mixed reactions from artists and experts.

Part of the tea ceremony, a practice with links to Zen Buddhism and considered quintessentially Japanese, the tea bowl is made following a set of conventions that have been passed down through generations of family firms.

In more recent years, however, ceramicists in the West have started to turn the tea bowl on its head by using different materials, processes, glazes, colors, textures and decoration.