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 and/or leave the Kyusu to air dry naturally with the lid off. If tea leaves get trapped in the filter, brush away with a soft brush, such as a toothbrush or our Bamboo Teapot Brush.
Hira Red L
|Product||Side-handle teapot, red|
|Origin||Tokoname, Aichi, Japan|
|Maker||Jinshu 甚秋 / Seiji Ito 伊藤 成二|
|Dimensions||Ø12.5cm x H3.5cm, handle 5.5cm|
|Finish||Unglazed (焼き締め Yakishime)|
|Production||Potter's wheel (轆轤 Rokuro)|
|Artist mark||Signature on base|
Each piece is handmade and unique, therefore colour, volume, dimensions and weight may vary slightly
Founded by Minoru Ito in 1955, Jinshu Tōen is a ceramics kiln in Tokoname that is now represented by Seiji Ito (b.1949), the second generation of Jinshu. A much sought-after certified Traditional Craftsman, he began his career as a potter at the age of twenty initially focusing on teacups before turning his hands to Kyusu teapots.
Combining form and function, the teapot that defines Jinshu is the multi-award winning Hira (“flat”) Kyusu. Shallow with a wide base, its shape enables tea leaves to spread out across the increased surface area to enhance the aroma and flavour, besides helping cool down hot water faster with the greater exposure to air. For these reasons the Hira model is perfect for brewing fragrant green teas at lower temperatures.
Apart from the red Shudei clay that Tokoname is famous for, Jinshu also uses white and black clays, sometimes mixing them together to produce unique results. Embracing materials and techniques indigenous to his hometown, characteristic Jinshu finishes include Mogake: wrapping seaweed around the clay before firing to produce fine, thread-like patterns; a spotted effect by sprinkling powdered oyster shells – a byproduct of local seaweed farming; as well as his signature matte finish using Chara: a coating with properties between a glaze and an engobe.
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.