Shidei banko will quickly develop a patina and become more glossy with use. It is natural that fingerprints will stand out on the surface in the first few months but these will begin to subside as the surface starts to develop a deep lustre – watch as the kyusu transforms in your hands! When cleaning, only use water and a soft cloth, then leave to air dry naturally. Do not use detergents or put in the dishwasher. Hard water may cause limescale deposits to develop, in which case rinse with soft bottled water, then wipe with a soft cloth.
Marugata Sakura 丸型桜
|Type||Side-handle Banko-yaki kyusu|
|Origin||Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan|
|Dimensions||Ø9.5 x 7cm|
|Decoration||Sakura carving, openwork|
|Manufacture||Potter's wheel (rokuro)|
|Artist's Stamp||Beneath handle, openwork gourds|
|Packaging||Signed wooden box (kiribako)|
Born in 1937, Ito Jitsuzan is a certified traditional craftsman who focuses on techniques that can only be done by hand, such as openwork and even inserting bells into lids. Having inherited the craft from his father, he represents the second generation of Jitsuzan and has won numerous accolades including being appointed an Intangible Cultural Asset by the City of Yokkaichi. Ito Jitsuzan is also one of the few kyusu makers left in Yokkaichi who still works with the old kata banko technique where the clay is spread thinly onto wooden moulds that can carefully be taken apart before firing once the clay has dried. Even though this is a time-consuming method that requires a lot of skill, he feels it imparts a delicacy that cannot be expressed on the potter’s wheel, which delights him as a craftsman.
The traditional Japanese teapot, kyusu are typically made of ceramics with a side handle placed at a 90° angle to the spout for ease of pouring – however the handle can also be found over the top or in the back. Kyusu are perfect for preparing green teas and tend to be on the small side to prevent overbrewing. Depending on the size, shape and type of clay a kyusu is made from will determine what type of tea is best prepared in it. There are many different regional styles as well as kyusu made by certified master craftsmen, which are prized amongst collectors.
Yokkaichi Banko-Yaki 四日市萬古焼
Merchant and passionate chajin (“tea person”), Nunami Rozan, is credited as the founding father of Banko-yaki. Back in the 18th century he opened a kiln in what is now Asahi-machi, Mie prefecture, stamping his wares with 萬古不易 – banko-fueki: “eternally unchanging” – in the hope that his ceramics would be passed down across generations forever. Today Banko-yaki is still produced in the Mie prefecture, primarily in the city of Yokkaichi, and is a protected traditional craft of Japan. Synonymous with banko is the local, iron-rich shidei "purple clay", which when baked in a high-temperature reduction furnace becomes very heat resistant and turns the characteristic deep violet-brown of Banko-yaki, with an almost metallic sheen. It is said that the tannins in green tea react with the iron in unglazed shidei teaware to soften the astringency of the tea, highlighting its sweetness; therefore umami-rich teas such as sencha, kabusecha and gyokuro come highly recommended when using banko.