This classically colored Banko teapot is a wonderful shade of purplish-brown with a lovely matte sheen. The lightly impressed diamond shaped pattern which appears in bands around both the body and lid of the pot provide a nice decorative touch. It feels very sturdy in the hand and has an appropriate heft both empty and in use. The beautifully designed lid sits nicely in the pot and feels secure when pouring. It has a fine mesh stainless steel metal ball filter, which is well-suited for steeping sencha and other fine-leaf teas. 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 from the strainer surface.
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 light, mineral-rich, fine-grained clay which can be fashioned into elegant, lightweight, thin-walled teapots.
Banko clay is called Shidei or purple clay; but Banko clay is not the same as the purple clay that is used in China to make Yixing teapots. The rich lustrous appearance of Banko wares 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 and understated and add to, not distract from, the overall essence of the teapot.
This is a handmade item – 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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