dai ichi arts, Ltd.


5/18/2015 | Weekly Highlight: Tea Caddy

Weekly Highlight: Tea Caddy

辻清明 (1927-2008) 

The tea ceremony has many important tools, including the scroll, the seasonal flower, the tea bowl, the water jar, and the tea caddy. This last can be a ceramic container (Chaire 茶入) made to hold green tea (Koi-cha 濃茶) or a lacquer container (Natsume 棗) designed for use with lighter green tea (Usu-cha 薄茶).  The ceramic tea caddy for Koi-cha is the more formal of the two, and always has at least two textile covers (shifuku 仕覆): one for regular days and one for festive occasions.Today we present two excellent examples of the tea caddy form


First, we have a gorgeous ceramic tea caddy in Shigaraki clay made by the Tokyo artist Tsuji Seimei (1927-2008). Tsuji's father was a great collector of antiques, and he brought a sense of tradition to the potter's wheel even from the young age of 11. 


This little tea caddy has a giant presence. The beautiful Shigaraki clay has a superb ash deposit across the body that creates a lovely patina. Its apple shape (Bunrin 文琳) is traditional for the formal tea ceremony, and its ivory lid is lined inside with a gorgeous gold leaf. There are two jackets: one is for regular use; the other is for festival occasion. The piece is accompanied by an exhibition catalog. 


 We also present this outstanding tea caddy from artist Tsukigata Nahiko (月形那比古 1923-2006 ), which is slimmer with the high shoulder that forms the Katatsuki (肩衝) shape.  

Though formally a Shino piece, Tsukigata's Shino glaze is thin and delicate enough to reveal the underlying clay. A highly respected potter, he received the Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts in 1952 and had a solo exhibition at the Palais des Congrès in Paris in 1988.  


The tea caddy originated in China. When Zen Buddhist Eisai (栄西) brought the seed of the tea tree to Japan, he used a ceramic container to hold his gift to the Kyoto monk Myouesyonin (明恵上人). In China, people had used these small containers for medicines or spices, but they traditionally did not have lids. With the advent of tea culture in the Muromachi and Momoyama period, these tea caddies from China became extremely valuable, so much so that generals used them in negotiations, and sometimes even fought battles over them. Early Japanese tea caddies followed the Chinese styles, but during the Edo period soon after they evolved into unique Japanese forms. An essential piece of the tea ceremony, the tea caddy is also an important piece of any ceramic collection!


TSUJI Seimei 辻清明 (1927-2008)

Shigaraki Tea Caddy, 信楽茶入

H7.6cm x Dia7.2cm, H3" x Dia2.75"

Signed Tsu ツ at bottom

With Signed Wood Box, Exhibited at Odakyu Department Store in 1975


TSUKIGATA Nahiko 月形那比古 (1923-2006)

Shino Tea Caddy 志野茶入

H10.4cm x Dia7.4cm, H4" x Dia2.75"

Singed at Bottom

C.S. Jiang