Japanese Brass Teapot
This beautiful 19th-century Japanese teapot is complete with oriental nature scenes engraved into the sides, and a detailed spout depicting an elephant’s trunk. The outside of the teapot is crafted out of brass. The inside of the pot is coated with bronze and a layer of pewter on top. The majority of Japanese teapots have a circular base. As such, this particular teapot is unique due to its hexagonal shape. Tea was introduced to Japan from China by travelling Buddhist monks. Monks used to drink green tea to stay awake during their long hours of meditation. The Japanese developed a liking to this beverage, and they invited Chinese artisans to teach them how to make earthen teapots. Over time, there was an evolution in Japanese teapot design. The pots transformed from plain, cast-iron vessels to those made of brass or porcelain. Eventually, the outside of the pots were engraved with designs and themes from nature. Teapots were used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for boiling water rather than for brewing. This transformed the teapot from a practical object to a symbol of mindfulness, as the process of brewing tea slowly and methodically was a ritual that demanded patience and care.
At this time in Japan, the city of Edo was renamed Tokyo on September 3, 1868. Edo, a name that can be translated as “estuary”, was a reference to the city’s original location at the meeting of two bodies of water. The Emperor moved to the city during the Meiji Restoration (1868) and declared it to be the new capital. East Asian tradition calls for the inclusion of the word “capital” in the name of the capital city, so the Emperor renamed the city Tokyo, which means “eastern capital.”