Marui Green Tea Set by Nagai Ken
Tamba-yaki is a style of high-fired, unglazed pottery originating more than 800 years ago in a remote and mountainous region west of Kyoto in Hyogo prefecture. During the Edo era (1600-1868), Tamba tea bowls were used extensively by tea ceremony practitioners who appreciated their simple, austere beauty. Because Tamba-yaki is unadorned and free of decorative elements, its beauty derives solely from the character of the clay, also known as its "flavor", and how kiln dynamics are rendered upon it.
This round (marui) green tea pot by Nagai Ken is wood fired in the Tamba-yaki tradition. Meticulously handcrafted in minute detail (the knob on the lid swivels), it is a testament to his exceptional forming skill. The intense heat inside Tenkū-gama, Nagai's noborigama climbing kiln, produces warm gradations of rust red to dark brown and small pebbles where feldspar crystals have burst through. Swirling embers of red pine fuse with the surface of the clay and produce a natural glaze which is rough yet pleasing to the touch. A wonderful display of the kind of dynamic kiln effects that only wood-fired pottery can exhibit.
The pot is accompanied by two matching cups fired in the same technique. The interior has a built-in sieve porous enough to allow small bits of green tea leaf to flow through - a timeless custom among tea drinkers in Japan. Its total capacity is 450ml (15 oz.), which is enough to make several cups of tea. Gyokuro is highly recommended.
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