This item is the Natsume (棗), 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 commonly made. 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 Natsumes and Natsumes made from bamboo or Japanese paper with lacquer.
About the design, its principal motif is the Kiku (菊, chrysanthemum) flowers. Gold and vermilion-colored flowers are depicted with the Makie (蒔絵) technique. It 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.
A long time ago, chrysanthemums were used as a medicine for obtaining a long life in the continent, and it was brought to Japan with this thought in the Nara period (648-781). Chrysanthemum symbolizes autumn, and people have greatly appreciated it since ancient times. Since its petals form radially, the chrysanthemum has been likened to the sun. That is why this flower pattern is treated as the symbol of perpetual youth and longevity or good health.
This Natsume is highly decorative, and we imagine that it played an active role not only as a container for Matcha but also as one of the colors that entertained the eyes of the participants at tea ceremonies.
*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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