This item is the Natsume (棗), which is a container for Matcha (抹茶, powdered green tea). This name was given because its shape resembles the fruit of Natsume (棗, the Japanese name of jujube). In the past, black lacquerware Natsumes were common. However, with the changing times, various designs have been produced. In tea ceremonies, there are two main types of Matcha containers. One is called the Chaire (茶入), a tool for advanced users, basically used for storing strong tea. On the other hand, the Natsume is a container for thin tea and is basically made of wood and lacquered. However, as mentioned above, there are pottery Natsume and Natsumes made from bamboo or Japanese paper with lacquer.
About the design, its theme is a type of Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) pattern. The Makie (蒔絵) and Raden (螺鈿) techniques are effectively used for expressing the Karakusa pattern gorgeously. The Karakusa pattern is a design in which vine stems and leaves are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows up without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity. Vine is called the Tsuru (蔓) in Japanese, and it has another pronunciation; “Man.” There is a word 万 (it is also read Man), which means ten thousand. In the Karakusa pattern, leaves and vines are connected like Obi (帯, belt). The word “帯” can also be read “Tai.” Due to its pronunciation, the term “代 (Tai)” is associated. From this word-association game, an idiom 万代 is associated, and it means a thousand generations. In other words, we could imagine that people used this design wishing prosperity and longevity for their clans for a long time.
The Makie is a typical Japanese lacquer art technique developed uniquely in Japan for about 1,200 years. Firstly, it needs to draw a picture with lacquer on the surface with a thin brush. Next, sprinkle the gold powder from above to show the pattern before the lacquer hardens. This technique makes a gorgeous and elegant look to works. The Raden is also a decorative technique that is often used for traditional craftworks. It uses the pearl part of seashells and put it into the engraved surface of lacquer or wood. Its iridescent luster gives a bright and luxurious impression to works.
*As this item is an antique, please check each photo and ensure its condition.
Samurai Museum is located in Tokyo, Japan, exhibiting antique artifacts related to the Samurai history. Samurai Museum Shop is the place for those who are interested in Japanese culture and craftsmanship. We deal with antique Samurai swords/armor, traditional crafts made in Japan and so on.
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【How to make sure the condition】
Please keep in mind that what you are going to purchase is an antique item. We uploaded high resolution photos for you to check its condition thoroughly. If you like to see more photos with different angles, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to send them to you so that you can make informed decision.
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