Quality Source For Japanese Tea Paraphernalia


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Quality Source For Japanese Tea Paraphernalia

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Dec 11th, '13, 04:29

Greetings friends,

Taiwanese Chayi/茶藝 is an interesting blend of Japanese and Chinese and native Taiwan influences and as such it incorporates many elements of Japanese tea practice and aesthetics (due in large part to the Japanese occupation of Taiwan from 1895-1945).

I have recently been trying to locate a good/quality source for Japanese tea paraphernalia (specifically one here in the U.S.A., to ease shipping costs) and it has been harder than I expected. Specifically I am looking for charcoal, ash, furos, haisaji, gotoku (which has been harder to find than I imagined), transportable braziers for tea trips to the park, etc. Today I ordered a Kirii wood hibachi for the tea room from Kuraya Japanese Antiques (http://www.kurayaantiques.com/) in San Francisco and a set of vintage hibashi from a Japanese retailer on Ebay. As well, I am looking for a quality source of charcoal, again, hopefully in the U.S., amongst other things. Rikyucha seems like a great site (http://www.rikyucha.com/item/list/46/1/), perhaps the best one I've found so far.

Does anyone know of any other sites/dealers that provide quality wares and service? When possible, I'd prefer to buy vintage or antique ware/tools that have the character that only time and use can bring to an object.

Blessings!
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Re: Quality Source For Japanese Tea Paraphernalia

Postby chamekke » Dec 15th, '13, 05:59

It's hard to find American sellers of Japanese tea paraphernalia of the kind you describe. TeaToys.com was one such, run by a man who was extremely knowledgeable about tea ceremony, but it quietly disappeared a few years back; I heard the seller was suffering from ill health. Tea Passage (formerly Tea Circle) used to stock paraphernalia as well, but they stopped offering a wide range and are now pretty much selling only bespoke fabric items, e.g. shifuku and kobukusa. Unfortunately it's such a niche interest, I can only imagine it's too expensive to keep sufficient inventory in stock when selling to a limited market like ours.

Luckily Rikyucha has an excellent selection also, as you mentioned. If you use online services like Rinkya (a proxy buyer/bidder), you can also order from Japanese stores or eBay Japan, but of course they charge for this service so that does put the cost up. On the other hand, it means you have a vast selection to choose from.

It's amazing what can turn up on eBay U.S., but you have to be very patient and wait for the right thing. Charcoal and ash pretty much need to be bought from a Japanese source.
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Re: Quality Source For Japanese Tea Paraphernalia

Postby JBaymore » Dec 15th, '13, 11:44

chamekke wrote: TeaToys.com was one such, run by a man who was extremely knowledgeable about tea ceremony, but it quietly disappeared a few years back; I heard the seller was suffering from ill health.


I miss TeaToys. Had great stuff and good prices.

best,

..................john
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Re: Quality Source For Japanese Tea Paraphernalia

Postby chamekke » Dec 17th, '13, 04:32

JBaymore wrote:
chamekke wrote: TeaToys.com was one such, run by a man who was extremely knowledgeable about tea ceremony, but it quietly disappeared a few years back; I heard the seller was suffering from ill health.


I miss TeaToys. Had great stuff and good prices.


I know! It was wonderful to browse, even better to buy from.

You can still take a look at it via the WayBack Machine. Good times:
http://web.archive.org/web/20060615204145/http://teatoys.com/kmain.html

The owner's Facts Page ("Care of Things") is still well worth a read...
http://web.archive.org/web/20060822150855/http://teatoys.com/kfacts.html
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Re: Quality Source For Japanese Tea Paraphernalia

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Dec 17th, '13, 16:39

chamekke wrote:It's hard to find American sellers of Japanese tea paraphernalia of the kind you describe. TeaToys.com was one such, run by a man who was extremely knowledgeable about tea ceremony, but it quietly disappeared a few years back; I heard the seller was suffering from ill health. Tea Passage (formerly Tea Circle) used to stock paraphernalia as well, but they stopped offering a wide range and are now pretty much selling only bespoke fabric items, e.g. shifuku and kobukusa. Unfortunately it's such a niche interest, I can only imagine it's too expensive to keep sufficient inventory in stock when selling to a limited market like ours.

Luckily Rikyucha has an excellent selection also, as you mentioned. If you use online services like Rinkya (a proxy buyer/bidder), you can also order from Japanese stores or eBay Japan, but of course they charge for this service so that does put the cost up. On the other hand, it means you have a vast selection to choose from.

It's amazing what can turn up on eBay U.S., but you have to be very patient and wait for the right thing. Charcoal and ash pretty much need to be bought from a Japanese source.


Seeing the "Tea Toys" site, thanks for posting the archived version, is a bit like finding a new band/musician and getting really excited and into their music only to find that the band has broken up. :(

I did recently, after I posted here, find a small Japanese antique shop in town that has been in business for 20 years. She has her own items and takes items on consignment. A noted elderly tea master died and her son brought in all the teaware for consignment sale. The antique shop does not have an online site so going there one can find great little pieces for tea settings. She has two furos with gotoku and a host of other chawans and items. The space is very disorganized and its a bit like a treasure hunt, which is also fun. I found very quality sumi/camellia charcoal that she sold to me for $10 :D , and she has more. She also had a copper hibachi lining. I work with wood and have a small shop space in my garage. So I bought the copper hibachi liner and will make my own hibachi from some nice burl wood. I brought her some quality Japanese tea sent to us from Japan by a Japanese friend and she has been generous on every piece I've bought, always giving me a solid discount. It is a great find. She has a really nice mizusashi that I would like to return to purchase when the funds build back up.

I went ahead and purchased from Rikyucha.com. Shinichi san was very patient and helpful in assisting me with finding the proper size gotoku, ash, haisaji, and a new Masamitsu Kikuchi tetsubin. I really appreciated his patience and very quick and detailed responses to my emails. I am grateful for his assistance and his business and looking forward to receiving the purchase.

It's a bit frustrating because these items are so easy, or relatively easy, to find in Taiwan for good prices.

Blessings!
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Re: Quality Source For Japanese Tea Paraphernalia

Postby chamekke » Dec 19th, '13, 05:25

茶藝-TeaArt08 wrote:Seeing the "Tea Toys" site, thanks for posting the archived version, is a bit like finding a new band/musician and getting really excited and into their music only to find that the band has broken up. :(


*nods* I feel the same way about the late Chanoyu Quarterly, to be honest, as well as the old Chanoyu listserve on Yahoo Groups. (Sure, there's the wakeiseijaku group, but it's just not the same...)

茶藝-TeaArt08 wrote:I did recently, after I posted here, find a small Japanese antique shop in town that has been in business for 20 years. She has her own items and takes items on consignment. A noted elderly tea master died and her son brought in all the teaware for consignment sale. The antique shop does not have an online site so going there one can find great little pieces for tea settings. She has two furos with gotoku and a host of other chawans and items. The space is very disorganized and its a bit like a treasure hunt, which is also fun. I found very quality sumi/camellia charcoal that she sold to me for $10 :D , and she has more. She also had a copper hibachi lining. I work with wood and have a small shop space in my garage. So I bought the copper hibachi liner and will make my own hibachi from some nice burl wood. I brought her some quality Japanese tea sent to us from Japan by a Japanese friend and she has been generous on every piece I've bought, always giving me a solid discount. It is a great find. She has a really nice mizusashi that I would like to return to purchase when the funds build back up.


Wow, treasure trove! I'm glad you discovered that shop - such a blessing for a serious tea student, and I expect the owner was thrilled to be able to sell her wares to someone who shares her late husband's passion.

And it's good to hear that Shinichi san of Rikyucha was able to help you out. I haven't bought a lot from them (mostly because i'm on a budget these days), but they've always been terrific.

P.S. I hope you'll share photos of your burl wood hibachi when it's completed! That sounds gorgeous.
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Re: Quality Source For Japanese Tea Paraphernalia

Postby JBaymore » Dec 19th, '13, 12:48

chamekke wrote:I feel the same way about the late Chanoyu Quarterly, to be honest, as well as the old Chanoyu listserve on Yahoo Groups. (Sure, there's the wakeiseijaku group, but it's just not the same...)


I have a good stack of the Quarterly in my library in the studio...... and miss that publication also. Sigh.........

best,

.....................john
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