Japanese Teapots – A Reflection of the Japanese Culture and Character
In just about every kitchen in the world you will find a teapot used for making tea. Various cultures often have their own distinctive teapot designs. For example, the best place to buy Japanese porcelain ware English have elegant and often ornate Victorian tea sets, the Chinese have magnificently sculpted YiXing clay teapots, and the Japanese have durable and rugged cast iron Tetsubins.
The Japanese are especially identified with tea and tea making since more than any other culture they have turned tea making into a ritualized art form. Originating in China, tea itself made its way to Japan and the teapots that were designed and used centuries ago still have the same basic form and function that are in use today — namely, to heat the water for that perfect pot of tea.
Depending upon where the teapot was designed, the look and feel can be dramatically different. As an example, Japanese Tetsubin teapots usually have very simple patterns or embossed elements on their cast iron surfaces. In addition, the cast iron metal of the Tetsubin is very strong and certainly much long-lasting than the ceramic, porcelain, or clay materials often used with English and Chinese tea sets.
Historically, some people believe the cast iron teapots have an additional health benefit since they provide a dose of iron to the tea. You typically will find no iron naturally added to the tea from a ceramic, porcelain, or clay teapot from England or China.
In terms of heat retention, cast iron is also superior to materials like porcelain, ceramic and clay. This heat retaining advantage of the cast iron Tetsubin was especially important during the 18th century since it was common to have the tea kettle over an open fire or hearth which allowed the water to be hot and always ready for brewing tea.