Imada-mura, Japan, 1796 – Japan 1871
Leaf Tea Caddy with Matching Lid
Stoneware, bluish glaze, reserve iron oxide decoration
11.6 cm (h.), 6.8 cm (diam.)
Adaline Van Horne Bequest, inv. 1944.Ee.16
Archeology and World Cultures
A tea caddy (chaire) is a small container for storing powdered green tea intended for the thick tea (koicha) ceremony. Small stoneware containers were introduced to Japan from China by pilgrim priests in the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). Originally made to hold cosmetics, medicine and spices, they were soon produced in local kilns and put to a different use by tea devotees. Highly treasured, they were placed in bags (shifuku) made of richly patterned silk and then stored in wooden boxes.