A kyusu is a traditional teapot which originated in China during the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279) and was introduced to Japan during the 18th century by poet, monk and calligrapher Ingen Ryuki.
While the traditional Japanese tea ceremony primarily used matcha, the gradual popularization of loose-leaf, sencha tea meant that many households could own their own kyusu and drink tea at home. Although now commonly available in porcelain and glass, a traditional mineral-rich clay kyusu remains the favored variety for many households today.
Tokuro Takimoto’s baked clay kyusu strikes a gentle balance between the traditional and contemporary. Hand-crafted with a deep brown/black matte finish, at first glance it appears a modest, conventional piece of tableware. On closer inspection we see some modern characteristics; the clean line around the lid and the short, straight spout. The main body is spherical, almost plump, and the bulbous side handle give it an endearing quality. Unassuming yet quietly charming, it is a welcome companion at teatime.
The ancient practice of the Japanese tea ceremony feels far-removed from the fast-paced, take-out world we live in today. A well-crafted kyusu invites us to slow down and take a break, while contributing in preserving an ancient tradition.