The Rich Culture And History Of Japanese Tetsubin

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The exact date when the Japanese tetsubin first appeared in Japan remains unclear, but much evidence suggests a strong relationship between the rise of the sencha (tea drinking using tea leaves), and the early tetsubins.

With this hypothesis, it is suggested that Japanese tetsubin was developed in Japan with the rise of Sencha, which was introduced to Japan from China in 17th century. During this period, Sencha was not considered a formal ceremony but tea was already acknowledged as a drink that is closely associated with medicinal herbs.

During the 18th century, as more and more Japanese adopted tea drinking, Sencha increasingly became an informal setting for sharing a cup of tea with family and friends. As Chinese tea utensils used in Sencha were too rare and expensive, the Japanese developed a new Japanese style teapot to replace the expensive Chinese ones – leading to the creation of the first tetsubins.

Most likely the early tetsubin was not created just out of imagination, but shaped by the design of other Japanese kettles already in existing that time. But why did they need to develop a tetsubin when they already have a usable kettle? One good reason might be the common belief by a lot of tea enthusiasts that water boiled in an iron kettle really tastes better than water boiled in regular kettles.

Throughout the 18th Century, the Japanese tetsubin remained to be an ordinary household utensil used to heat water, prepare tea, and provide warmth. However, it underwent ornamental design changes along with the Japanese art in general.

When Japanese art was gradually being influenced by the Chinese mainland 19th century, the styles and design of Japanese tetsubins became more elaborate. Not long enough, a wide range of Tetsubin teapots were available, from the simplest kettle style, to flamboyantly designed works of art. Japanese tetsubin then gradually evolved into a cultural status symbol for its owner.

Although tetsubins were originally influenced by Sencha drinking and remained to be a household item, it has a significant role within the tea ceremony. It is used in chanoyu, during ryakubon. This teapot is also often used in place of the cha-gama when chanoyu is held outdoors. Another Japanese ceremony that uses tetsubin, is kaiseki, which is a light meal before chanoyu.

The decoration and shapes of Japanese tetsubin are beautiful in their simplicity and practicality. Tea enthusiasts these days can enjoy tea in the comfort of their homes with such easy-to-use teapots.

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Source by Josh Angelo

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