As with all unglazed ceramics, wash with warm water and a soft cloth only. Do not use washing-up liquid or put in the dishwasher. Pat the outside dry with a towel to prevent water stains and leave the teapot to air dry naturally with the lid off. If tea leaves get trapped in the strainer, brush away with a soft brush, such as a toothbrush or our specialised Bamboo Teapot Brush. Hard water may cause limescale deposits to develop, in which case rinse with soft bottled water, then wipe with a soft cloth.
Yohen Kodai I
|Product||Side handle teapot, red and brown|
|Origin||Tokoname, Aichi, Japan|
|Maker||Yoshikawa Setsudo 吉川雪堂|
|Dimensions||Ø8.5cm x H9.5cm, handle 5cm, foot Ø5cm|
|Material||Red clay (Shudei 朱泥)|
|Production||Potter's wheel (Rokuro 轆轤)|
|Finish||Unglazed (Yakishime 焼き締め)|
|Artist mark||Seal beneath handle|
|Packaging||Wooden box (Kiribako)|
Each piece is handmade and unique, therefore colour, volume, dimensions and weight may vary slightly
Perfection best describes the teapots of Yoshikawa Setsudo (b.1947). The third generation Kyusu artisan is a master of the Rokuro (potter’s wheel), his exquisite teapots with no irregularities and up to a thousand tiny hand-perforated holes in the ceramic strainers are a feat that even modern machinery cannot achieve. All his pieces are made of classic unglazed Tokoname Shudei red clay with a variety of signature finishes including Yōhen ombré, intricate illustrative carving in collaboration with his younger brother Yoshikawa Kodo, as well as painstakingly polished surfaces – which truly highlight the phenomonal craftsmanship.
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 Traditional Craftsmen, which are prized amongst collectors.
Pottery has been produced in the city of Tokoname, Aichi prefecture, as far back as the 12th century, and since 1976 has been protected as a Traditional Craft of Japan. Tokoname was the site of the largest and oldest of the legendary Rokkoyō (六古窯): the “Six Ancient Kilns” of Japan, and is celebrated for its iron-rich Shudei clay that turns a bright red after firing. When fired a second time in a reduction oven, the red Shudei turns black – another characteristic colour of Tokoname-yaki. Traditional Tokoname Kyusu teapots are unglazed on the inside, allowing the tannins in the tea to interact with the iron in the clay body, which is said to reduce astringency and highlight the sweetness of green teas. Another key feature of these Kyusu are the perfectly fitting lids, which are ground into the clay body after firing in a technique known as Suriawase.
Written as “kiln change”, Yōhen refers to the variations in colour and texture on the surface of ceramics that happen during the firing process. This is a feature found across various Japanese pottery styles including Tokoname, Shino, Bizen and Tenmoku. Within Tokoname-yaki, the typical two-tone Yōhen effect can be achieved by firing the ceramic item for a second time in a reduction furnace, but by partially burying it in rice husks or ashes, only the exposed part changes colour.