Japanese Lacquer Tea Ceremony Caddy | Natsume | Showa

This is beautiful Japanese black lacquer tea caddy (Chu-natsume). Chu-natsume refers to the particular shape of the tea caddy, and is the classic, standard shape for storing powered tea (matcha). It has a glossy, black lacquer body with a gold, pine, (Hinoki), branch motif on the lid and side of the piece. This is a classic shape, with smooth, finely carved and lacquered application. Traditionally used as a dry tea, (macha), caddy for the tea ceremony, this classic piece stands as a refined work of Japanese art. Excellent condition. Age: Showa, mid-20th century. Dimensions:2-5/8”w x 2-3/4”h

Additional Information—
The Japanese Tea Caddy, (natsume), is named for its resemblance to the natsume fruit (jujube). It is short with a flat lid and rounded bottom, and is usually made of lacquered or untreated wood. Cha-ire and natsume are used in different ceremonies; normally cha-ire is used when serving koicha, and natsume for serving Usucha. Natsume is considered a high-ranking tea utensil.

Maki-e is the most representative of all the urushi decoration techniques developed in Japan. The numerous processes involved are categorized according to shape and grade of the gold and silver powders used, the flatness or otherwise of the decorated surface, and the finishing techniques used after the sprinkling on of the metal powders. This particular Maki-e decoration is called Takamaki-e (raised, sprinkled picture decoration). This involves the creation of raised areas with urushi or urushi paste, (used for the foundation layer), prior to the application of metal dusts, consolidation with urushi and polishing.

Cha-no-yu (literally “hot water for tea”) usually refers to either a single ceremony or ritual, while cha-ji or chakai (literally “tea meeting”) refers to a full tea ceremony with kaiseki (a light meal), usucha (thin tea) and koicha (thick tea), lasting approximately four hours.

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