Houhins are small teapots without handles. They are easy to hold and are the perfect size for solo tea drinkers or special teas that are being sipped from tiny cups. This lovely houhin has a small fan shaped piece of clay applied to each ‘side’ which serve as finger grips and show the user where to grasp the vessel for one-handed pouring. These finger grips have an impressed pattern and are slightly concave, making them easy to grasp. It feels very secure when pouring and the lid stays snugly in place. The clay is a wonderful shade of purplish-brown, smooth, with a lovely matte sheen. It has a fine mesh stainless steel metal ball filter, which is well-suited for steeping sencha. You should not need to remove the filter for cleaning. A simple rinse under the faucet is usually enough to remove any debris. If some small leaf particles do get ‘stuck’ in the filter, allow the pot to fully dry and then use a soft bristle brush (a clean toothbrush works quite well for this) to break up and remove the dried leaves.
Banko ware was first made in the early 1700’s in Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture. Banko teapots are made from an unglazed clay and they are similar to Tokoname teapots in their elegant style and size. Both Banko and Tokoname teawares feature mineral-rich, fine-grained clays which can be fashioned into elegant, traditionally unglazed teapots.
Banko clay is called Shidei or purple clay but Banko clay is not the same as the purple clay which is used in China to make Yixing teapots. The rich lustrous appearance of Banko is the result of the reduction firing method used in the kiln. A reduction kiln lacks oxygen, and it is this facet of the kiln that is responsible for turning the naturally yellow, iron-rich clay into a palette of rich earth colors that range from medium-brown to blackish-purple.
Banko wares are simple yet sophisticated. Many teapots feature only the simplicity of form and shape and a smooth finish, allowing the skill of the potter to take center stage. Decorative elements are subtle add to, not distract from, the overall essence of the teapot.
Slight variations in the painting, colors, tooling, patterning and kiln effects of Chinese and Japanese tea wares are to be expected. We have carefully photographed this item as best as possible – please be aware that different device screens can render colors and subtle tones slightly differently.
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