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Tea caddy

  • Place of origin:

    Takatori (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1650-1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stoneware, with ash and iron glazes, and ivory lid

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 3 []

Object Type
This tea caddy was made to contain the finely powdered green tea used in the making of so-called thick tea in the Japanese tea ceremony. This involves scooping and pouring the powdered tea from the caddy into a ceramic bowl. Hot water is added and the mixture is worked into a viscous suspension with a bamboo whisk. The one bowlful of tea is usually shared by four or five guests. Japanese ceramic tea caddies are small because they are required to hold tea for only one serving.

The Takatori kilns are located in the northern part Kyushu, the westernmost of Japan's four main islands. They were founded at the beginning of the 17th century and have long been known for their elegant and finely potted tea ceramics.

Historical Associations
This tea caddy was one of over 200 Japanese ceramics bought by the V&A after they had been shown at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in the United States in 1876. Some, like this piece, were old, but the majority were new or nearly new. The collection was assembled by the Japanese with funds sent from Britain.

Physical description

Tea caddy, stoneware with iron and ash glazes; ivory lid.

Place of Origin

Takatori (made)


ca. 1650-1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Stoneware, with ash and iron glazes, and ivory lid


Height: 5.6 cm, Diameter: 6.7 cm

Descriptive line

Tea caddy, stoneware with iron and ash glazes, with ivory lid; Japan, Takatori ware, Edo period, ca. 1650-1800

Labels and date

British Galleries:
In 1876 this museum acquired a large collection of Japanese ceramics from the International Exhibition in Philadelphia, U.S.A. Many of the ceramics were modern, highly decorated pieces made for the European market. The collection also contained some older objects made for use in the Japanese tea ceremony. Such objects had never been seen in Britain before. [27/03/2003]


Stoneware; Ivory




Ceramics; Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares; Stoneware


East Asia Collection

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