Kyusu Tokoname
Fujigata

SKU
4837
Original Japanese side handle teapot by the multiple award-winning master Fugetsu from Tokoname with integrated, hand-stitched ceramic strainer, handmade with artist's stamp, 220ml.

 

Character

 

This traditional Kyusu is hand-thrown from natural clay by Fugetsu, a multi-award winning potter from Tokoname. Fugetsu uses his own clay, which he mines in the mountains.

Tokoname is one of Japan's six ancient ceramic centres. High-quality earthenware has been produced here since as far back as the 12th century. The clay deposits, particularly rich in iron, are still present there. These are responsible for the characteristic red body which, together with the oxidation firing, is decisive for optimising the taste of the tea. A special feature of the production of Kyusu from Tokoname are the lids, which are cut by hand and fit precisely.

Details

  • Genuine masterpiece from Fugetsu
  • Hand-ground lid
  • Natural clay from the mountains
€239.90

Delivery : 1–3 business days

Incl. VAT, excl. Shipping

SKU
4837
In stock

Tokoname Kyusu

A kyusu is a traditional Japanese tea pot for the preparation of Japanese green tea. Fired from natural clay and unglazed on the inside, the body reacts with the water and the tea and brings out certain aromas. The tea can steep optimally free-floating in the pot, moreover, the leaves lie advantageously over the integrated strainer when pouring, so that they filter themselves on the one hand, on the other hand, they allow a more complete extraction of flavours and ingredients. The tea is only ever brewed fresh, but several times. The side handle and the knob on the lid prevent the hand from coming into contact with the excessively hot body.

Throughout history, there have been hundreds of ceramic centres in Japan, wherever the volcanic soil had rich clay deposits. Some are still active today, including the six most important "old kilns" (jap. Rokkoyo): Bizen, Shigaraki, Seto, Echizen, Tamba and Tokoname. But also others such as Karatsu, Hagi, Mino, Shino, Oribe, Setoguro Ki-Seto and Kyo-yaki, and for tea ceramics above all Banko in Yokkaichi.

They differ regionally according to the composition of the clay, the prevalent firing method, the handwork steps, decoration and glazing techniques and the fineness or deliberate coarseness of the production. Above all, the clay and the firing determine the flavourful character of the kyusu, i.e. which types of flavours of a tea are lifted or subdued by it. Therefore, tea lovers often have different kyusu of different qualities at home, in order to enable the optimal preparation depending on the tea and its quality. Among the finest and most valuable kyusu are those made by famous artists who are famous not only for their special talents in manufacturing, form and decoration, but also for their own production of the natural clay as well as their own firing techniques that result in unique qualities.

Led by the living national treasures, the most highly awarded masters, there is a whole hierarchy of craftsmanship, ranging from studios that still draw on the reputation of past masters, young and wild studios, to family-run micro-enterprises that produce the bulk of everyday ceramics. Important collector's items are the vintage kyusu, which are still made entirely from now exhausted deposits of the highest quality natural clay of the respective region and thus achieve incomparable qualities in tea infusion.

Tokoname Yaki

Tokoname Yaki (常滑焼, Aichi Prefecture)

Tokoname is the oldest of Japan's so-called Six Old Kilns (jap.: roku koyo, 日本六古窯). With about 200 kilns for traditional ceramics, Tokoname is now the largest centre of ceramics production. The pure natural clay (shudei) is red and particularly rich in iron, and has special properties in terms of taste and effect on green tea. Unlike other regions, Tokoname still has - albeit diminishing - reserves of its famous natural clay.

For the famous Shudei Kyusu, the most iron-rich, fine-grained clay with a special colour is used, which is found under rice fields in Tokoname. The even more special, genuine Hon Shudei clay with the ideal iron content, however, has become so rare that nowadays Shudei is additionally enriched with natural iron oxide in order to really achieve the desired shade of genuine Hon Shudei.

One way of producing differently coloured kyusus is to use chara (Japanese: チャラ) on shudei kyusus. To do this, the potter sprays on a mixture of red clay and natural colour pigments after shaping the base. The process is called chara-gake. The kyusu is then fired. Finished Shudei pots with Chara have a special shine, which is achieved by polishing the potted Kyusu with a metal spatula or cloth before firing. For this reason, glazes or on-glaze painting are often avoided to let the clay speak for itself.

In the production of Tokoname kyusu, the so-called oxidation firing for red and the reduction firing for purple to black shards are used on gas or electric kilns. Some studios, especially well-known artists, sometimes use a combination of the two techniques for special colour patterns (jap.: Yohen 窯変). Oxidation firing is done between 1100 and 1200 degrees Celsius, depending on the clay, and must be controlled extremely closely because of the colour changes and the risk of cracking.

The introduction of the multi-vaulted multi-chamber hang kiln (Jap.: renboshiki-noborigama, 連房式登窯) in 1834 improved the control of the firing process compared to earlier kilns. This and the help of Chinese specialists made possible the development of the red, unglazed Shudei ware (jap.: Yakishime; 焼き締め). Tokoname has become famous throughout Japan, or rather the world, especially for the shudei kyusus made of red toki. But the studios of the region are also known for many other techniques, such as ash glazing (jap.: kaiyu; 灰釉), dark burn marks by carbon impregnation (koge), celadon work and the mixing of different types and colours of clay.

Application

For the care of high-quality Japanese ceramics, please use low-limestone, soft water for all preparations and cleaning steps.

A kyusu should first be warmed with warm water before the actual tea preparation so that the clay can react better with the tea leaves. Only then are the tea needles put in with a wooden spoon. Depending on taste, variety and quality, 1-3 heaped teaspoons per person are recommended. Advanced connoisseurs usually prepare the tea much stronger than beginners, who are less accustomed to the intense taste and bitter substances.

Now pour the water carefully and slowly over the leaves, ideally from a yuzamashi (vessel for cooling the water after boiling) of the same or similar clay and firing. For better results, fill the water only to the top third of the sieve. During the brewing time, please close the lid.

To pour, hold the kyusu with one hand so that the thumb rests on the knob. Make sure that the small opening on the lid is at the same level with the spout. Then pour the tea slowly into the cup in several puffs and drink it fresh. If several cups are being filled, they should be poured in small steps one after the other to achieve an even result for all cups. At the end of the pouring process, carefully but firmly jerk the kyusu downwards repeatedly with both hands to extract the last, particularly rich drops from the tea.

Then leave the kyusu closed for the next infusion. After the last infusion, remove the tea completely from the kyusu and rinse it vigorously with water only. Do not scratch or otherwise clean the inside. Finally, rinse the inside and outside of the pot with low-limestone, soft water in order to avoid detrimental limescale deposits. Briefly rub the outside with a clean cloth, then leave the kyusu open to dry completely.

Care

Cleaning outside:

Only with clean water and a soft cloth. If dirty, rub with infused green tea.

Cleaning inside:

Rinse only with clean water. Do not scratch or otherwise clean. During use, the kyusu accumulates patina on the inside, which should not be removed.

After using tap water containing limestone, rinse the kyusu inside and out with low-limestone, soft water, in order to avoid the deterioration caused by limescale deposits. Then wipe the outside with a clean, soft cloth.

It is advisable to use only the recommended similar tea types in the same kyusu in the long term (see the tab on tea types). The kyusu, which is unglazed on the inside, develops a patina in combination with the respective tea, which improves and intensifies the taste over time. For this reason, too, when preparing the tea and during the cleaning, it is best to use soft, low-calcium water (similar to natural mountain spring water) rather than tap or bottled water containing limestone.

Product Details

Type Side handle jug, yokode kyūsu (横手急須)
Kiln Tokoname Yaki (常滑焼)
Origin Tokoname (region), Aichi (prefecture), Japan
Studio This Kyusu was made by Merister Fugetsu in a traditional, small craft studio (jap.: kamamoto) in Tokoname. All the work steps are carried out exclusively by hand. In this large traditional region for ceramics, only less than 200 studios exist today.
Capacity 220ml
Fabrication The lid was ground to fit the body of the jug (Suriawase technique, すり合わせ), a sign of originality from Tokoname.
Sieve Integrated, hand-stitched ceramic sieve
Recommended filling quantity Up to the last third of the integrated sieve. Larger amounts of water can cause water to leak out even with the highest fitting accuracy of the lid.
Packaging Box
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