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Japan Marche Staff Blog : KUTANI PORCELAIN_Teapot




Title: The most powerful combination

“the simple gorgeousness of bright red and gold must be the best match”

In the precisely picturing the background with so-called “shippo tsunagi” pattern, and framed by cloud-like lines, a bird is showing up its beautiful wings and long tail feathers. This is a legendary sacred bird called Hou-ou (Chinese phoenix, or Fenghuang), which is believed to has feathers in five colors, black, white, red, blue, and yellow. And for its spiritual power, the bird has been treated as a good luck omen.

Hou-ou in Japan has a long history, even though it originated in Chinese myth. The statue is set on the roof of Byodo-in Hou-ou do (a Buddhism temple) and also depicted in a Japanese 10 thousand-yen bill with the building. In an old non-fiction novel Makura-no-soshi, it was written that adding relieves of Hou-ou to paulownia-wood furniture was really prevailing.

The pot itself is baked as Kutani ware, which usually produce colorful potteries using various colors. This one only uses red and god unlike such specialty, however, considering about the power of this spiritual bird, the simple gorgeousness of bright red and gold must be the best match.

Surrounding the phoenix, the shippo tsunagi mark is also thought to bring a good luck and fortune, since “shippo” means seven treasures in Buddhism term. Around the bottom of the pot, you will also find tortoise shells filled with unique arabesques suggesting prosperity.

Right above the bird, there is a lotus flower, where Buddhism gods reside. In Japan, there is a custom to present red things to elders who reach their 60 for celebrating longevity and happy retired lives. This gorgeous, yet filled with wishes red and gold teapot may be the good one for such purpose.


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