High quality hand-made shudei clay ceramic Japanese tea pot (kyusu). This particular style of tea pot is normally rather small and frequently used in Japan to serve higher-quality green teas where the quantity to dispense is less and the beauty and form of the tea pot are an appreciated element of the tea service. The word shudei (literally “red mud”) is used to describe a special clay which takes on a brick red appearance when fired and is frequently used to create the best quality kyusu tea pots. Originating during the late 19th century, shudei pottery is produced through a fairly complicated procedure and fired at high temperature (over 1,100 degrees Celsius) for extended periods; where a temperature change of only 10 degrees during the firing process can ruin the appearance of the pot. Shudei clay contains iron which is thought to enhance the flavor of green tea.
About the Listed Item
This small (please see size information below) tea pot features classic Japanese styling with delicate handle and spout and built-in ceramic strainer. This particular shudei kyusu tea pot is a rather unusual item as it is simultaneously “brand new” and “antique”. The tea pot was made sometime during the first few decades of the 20th century and placed into storage before it was ever brought to market. The tea pot then spent roughly 100 years safely tucked away in an old Japanese storehouse with other tea pots from the same lot. When we acquired the pots they were still safely tied and bound with cords of woven rice straw. After removing the pots from their bindings and cleaning off some accumulated dust we were delighted to discover the fine quality and workmanship evident in each shudei tea pot. The pots and lids are hand-made and were produced by a craftsman who was both skilled at his art and who took the time to produce ceramic items of exceptional quality. As each pot is hand-made and thus slightly different we choose to list each item separately in order to photograph and note the unique qualities of each pot. Please click here to see additional shudei tea pots from this same lot.
Height (base to top of lid handle): 2.5 inches (6.5 centimeters)
Diameter (excluding handle and spout): 3.3 inches (8.5 centimeters)
Weight: 6.1 ounces (175 grams)
Green Tea History
The true origins of tea are lost in pre-history. However, some interesting legends do exist to explain how humanity came to acquire this culinary treasure. One Chinese story tells how a famous herbalist was preparing medicine next to a large tea plant when some leaves did fall into a pot of boiling water. Upon sampling the brew and realizing the stimulating benefits, the herbalist then added tea to his list of medicines. Another story gives credit to the Indian sage Bodhidarma (aka Daruma) who is the recognized founder of Zen Buddhism. Daruma-san is thought to have achieved enlightenment only after meditating for seven years straight without blinking or moving his eyes. At one point during his long vigil Daruma apparently became so overcome by fatigue that he tore off his eyelids and threw them to the ground. The eyelids are then thought to have sprouted into China’s first green tea plants.
Buddhist priests are normally credited with introducing tea to Japan during the 6th century where it was first popular with priests trying to stay alert during long sessions of meditation. Tea was later adopted by the ruling and military classes where elaborate ceremonies for the preparation and serving of tea were developed and refined over many centuries. The Japanese tea ceremony (sadou) is today appreciated as one of the most beautiful and intriguing of the traditional Japanese arts. Tea is certainly one of the defining elements of contemporary Japanese lifestyle; important in family and social settings and providing catalyst for a wide range of art forms, from ceramic and iron ware, to bamboo craft as well as the very act of drinking. And while practitioners of the tea ceremony may spend a lifetime mastering the art of tea, Japanese from every walk of life do appreciate on a daily basis the delicious flavor and invigorating effect of this most important drink.
item code: R4S7B1-0004215
category code: oldshudeikyusu
ship code: G3