Hôki (Treasure Tortoise): Seto ware tea caddy, Taikai type, with ivory lid

Accession Number

Hôki (Treasure Tortoise): Seto ware tea caddy, Taikai type, with ivory lid


Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
17th century

Medium & Support
stoneware with brown and black glaze, ivory lid

2 5/16 in. x 4 1/8 in. x 4 1/8 in. ( 5.8 cm x 10.4 cm x 10.4 cm )

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Label copy
Chairé (tea caddies) are used to store finely ground tea powder. Usually made of dark clay and glazes without ostentatious decorations, teas caddies are highly prized in the wabi tea ceremony, in which simplicity and a refined rusticity are cultivated and often contrasted with more opulent styles. The culture of wabi was widespread among the samurai class and was often marked by an intricate layering if materials, meanings, and both visual and literary puns.
This tea caddy is a type called daikai (large sea), and its unusually large size suggest that it was perhaps intended for a tea ceremony with many guests, The two beautiful shifuku (silk pouches) are pried pieces of art themselves and would have been presented along with the tea caddy at a ceremony. The patchwork shifuku must have been a treat for the guests, since it brings together five pieces of dazzling brocade.

Subject matter
Tea caddies are used to store finely ground tea powder, and can be used in tea ceremony.

Physical Description
This squat tea caddy has brown and black glaze, two small ornamental handles, and an ivory lid.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
tea caddy

Collection Area

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& Author Notes

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