Kettle for informal tea

From Japan
Edo period, 18th-19th century AD

Cast iron with gold and silver inlay

There were two kinds of kettles used for the Japanese Tea Ceremony - the massive cast iron chagama used for formal events, and the more decorative type with an up-and-over handle, used for less formal or outdoor Tea Ceremonies.

The body of the kettle is cast in two halves. The lower half is roughly textured like the true chagama, while the upper half is burnished and inlaid with a grapevine pattern in gold and silver. This technique was more often used for armour, sword fittings and firearms. The copper lid is impressed Ryūbundō. This was a firm of nineteenth-century iron-casters who seem to have made the lids for fitting to kettles made by other makers. The lid has a gilt-copper knob.

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More information


L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

L. Smith and V. Harris, Japanese decorative arts from (London, The British Museum Press, 1982)


Height: 12.200 cm (excluding handle)

Museum number

Asia JA 1969.9.25.1



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