JAPANSE THEE CEREMONIE
GREEN TEA IN THE REALM OF TRANQUILITY
Kigata Banko Yaki was invented 190 years ago by Japanese craft artist Yusetsu Mori (1808-1882). He applied a puzzled wooden mold technique to teapot-making for green tea ceremonies. After the teapot is shaped, the wooden mold can be cleverly deconstructed and removed from inside. This technique allows the teapots to keep the warm handmade feel while being very thin and light, perfectly suitable for preparing green tea.
Japanese artist Haruka Matsuo graduated from Kyoto City University of Arts and Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam. Having studied under Seigetsu Iriyama (1922-2014), Haruka is the 9th successor of Kigata Banko Yaki technique. She adds elements from her own artworks into each tea set giving them a light and modern look.
Meanwhile the molds that these tea sets are made with, are over 120 years old.
TEA IN THE REALM OF TRANQUILITY
KIGATA BANKO - Japanese teapot for green tea, made with puzzled wooden mold.
In Japan, people barely know “Kigata Bankoyaki” is one of the rare technique to produce teapots using wooden molds discovered in my home town Yokkaichi.
We use thin pressed clay to wrap around this puzzled wooden mold. And we make the shape of a teapot. After the manufacturing process, only few people make this teapot in Yokkaichi.
I still have the fresh memory of childhood, my mother brewing green tea in the tiny ceramic teapot, and me carefully sipping the beautiful pale green tea poured in petite tea cups. This ceramic fine teapot which my mother loved to use was crafted in a puzzle-shaped wooden mold. And it has been produced only in my local province, Mie. It’s called “Banko” - means “Eternal”. After that I had the luck to be able to visit the workshop of master craftsman of traditional arts and crafts, Guru Seigetsu who was eighth generation of Banko with my father. I still vividly remember that I was moved to tears observing the Guru Seigetsu applying his astonishing rare technique of using the wooden mold to create precious teapots delightfully. I didn’t expect at all that the teapots could be made with that wooden mold, like the wooden block puzzles I used to play with in my childhood. The following day of my visit, I succeeded to his singular historical wooden puzzle molds and this unique Japanese traditional method creating teapot for green tea “Gyokuro”. I would love to see many people enjoying this “Banko” teapot by sharing the time over the tea slowly brewed in the pot with friends and loved ones.
I sincerely wish that this Banko teapot and green tea drinking culture would be passed down the generations and people who enjoy the delightful moment.