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 Museum Explorer

Daily life in Asia

Set of tea containers

Height: 85.000 mm ((container))

Asia JA 1947.4-18.5.a-c

Set of tea caddies

From: Japan
Date: 17th century AD (Edo period)

In Japan, the ‘tea ceremony’ called chanoyu is very important. In chanoyu powdered green tea has to be prepared and drunk in exactly the right way. Teamasters made it their life’s work to perfect the tea ceremony. Sen no Rikyū (AD 1522-91), the greatest teamaster of all, finalised the tea ceremony into its present form.

A container for tea is called a caddy. The person who owned this pottery tea caddy (second from left) loved it so much that they later had many other containers made to keep it in. Firstly it was placed in the gold and cream bag, then in the shiny red and brown box on the left. Then the set was placed into the blue and gold brocade bag, and finally they were all put into the cherry-wood box. Getting the tea out and putting it away correctly would have been an important part of the tea ceremony.