Tea-caddy, with its set of bags and containers

From Japan

Caddy: Edo period, 17th century AD

'Mountain Cherry'

The pottery tea caddy (second from the left) was probably made in a kiln in the Seto area (Owari Province), a famous pottery producing region. The glaze is reminiscent of the bark, faded by time, of the yamazakura (mountain cherry). It seems that a Teamaster gave the caddy this name, which has been inscribed on the lid of the brown and red lacquered container on the left.

Evidently, the caddy was loved so much that a set of containers was gathered in which to keep it, perhaps in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. It was first placed in the small inner bag of gold silk brocade on a cream ground. This was placed in the lacquered box, which was in turn encased in the outer bag of gold silk brocade on a dark blue ground. Finally, this was placed in the cherry-wood box, which would have been carefully tied. The box is also inscribed with the name yamazakura.

Part of the ceremony itself would be the careful undoing of each successive layer, an indication of the respect in which the object was held. After use considerable time would be spent packing everything away with equal attention.

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More information

Bibliography

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

Dimensions

Height: 85.000 mm ((container))

Museum number

Asia JA 1947.4-18.5.a-c

JCR6586;JCR6587;JCR6588

Arthur Morrison Collection

Location

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