Jul 1st 16 1:26 pm
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Re: Fashion in Teaware – or what’s up with the side handles?

by .m. » Jul 1st 16 1:26 pm

Bok wrote:I don’t know about you lot, but it seems to me that nowadys side-handle teapots are all the rage!
They keep popping up everywhere and even potters who have done straight handles for almost all their working life switch to side handles!
In Taiwan that is. But looking around instagram and other media it seems to be the new craze.

Previously mostly found in the Japanese tea arts they overtake the Chinese way too.

Each their own, me myself I do not like to use the side-hendled pots. Maybe it just needs more practice, but I feel I have better control with a straight handle. Then again I am left-handed which makes things more complicated as lefties are more rare… :mrgreen:

Anyways, just an observation :mrgreen:
Everything is subjected to trends and fashion, even our beloved way of tea.
For the side handled, it really depends on the shape and a placement of the handle. And whether it is designed for a fist grip (between index and middle finger) or palm grip.
I simply love pouring tea with my fist-grip Ken Shimizu kyusu, it gives such a perfect control of the pour with the slightest movement of the wrist, no need to raise elbow or a shoulder: so natural and harmonious. Very inward indeed, as Kyarazen said.
While most of my pots and most used pots have loop-like back handles. I wouldn't mind having more well made side handled ones.

Jul 2nd 16 8:26 am
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Re: Fashion in Teaware – or what’s up with the side handles?

by thirst » Jul 2nd 16 8:26 am

steanze wrote:Side handles are quite common in Chinese kettles for boiling water. I suspect that the Japanese kyusus might have taken the side handle from there...
Two relevant passages from Patricia Graham’s Tea of the Sages:

"Nanban* teapots later became the most popular style of sencha teapots crafted by Japanese artisans. Typically made of dark brown, unglazed, roughly textured clay, they were light in weight and small in proportion, with tiny, crudely attached side handles and spouts. Although these teapots were dearly admired in Japan, in China they were inexpensive wares that actually functioned as pots for brewing medicinal herbs." (p90)

*In this case referring to southern China

"In one section he* distinguished seven different types of side-handled teapots that are generally known as kyusu but which he identified with the more archaic moniker of "kibisho." Rakusui considered Chinese teapots the best, the first acknowledgment of the existence of Japanese-made ones. Yet he noted that among the Chinese varieties some were good and others bad. He wrote that the best of the Chinese teapots were similar in shape to Baisao's Gikokan kettle** that he called Baisao gata (Baisao shape) (Figure 15), and noted that the Kyoto potter Kiyomizu Rokubei I (1733?-1799) copied this form. Rokubei, the only Japanese potter named by Rakusui, was later acknowledged as the first Japanese potter to produce wares for sencha. His utensils, primarily braziers and teapots, appear to be faithful copies of Chinese originals (Kawahara 1985, 26, pl. 8)." (p93)

*Rakusai, in his Detailed Record of Sencha published 1798
**A 17th or 18th century Chinese kettle

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Jul 2nd 16 8:23 pm
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Re: Fashion in Teaware – or what’s up with the side handles?

by javi_sanchez » Jul 2nd 16 8:23 pm

I am also a lefty! Ha! I have a side handle copper pot but man that handle gets hot (it's already wrapped in something too). I still end up wrapping it with a damp cloth. Are all side-handled pots meant to be poured with two hands (the other to hold the lid)?

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Jul 3rd 16 5:56 pm
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Re: Fashion in Teaware – or what’s up with the side handles?

by jayinhk » Jul 3rd 16 5:56 pm

I don't need to use two hands with my Tokoname lefty special (from hibiki-an.com if anyone's looking). I use my thumb on the lid!

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Re: Fashion in Teaware – or what’s up with the side handles?

by steanze » Jul 3rd 16 6:50 pm

thirst wrote:
steanze wrote:Side handles are quite common in Chinese kettles for boiling water. I suspect that the Japanese kyusus might have taken the side handle from there...
Two relevant passages from Patricia Graham’s Tea of the Sages:

"Nanban* teapots later became the most popular style of sencha teapots crafted by Japanese artisans. Typically made of dark brown, unglazed, roughly textured clay, they were light in weight and small in proportion, with tiny, crudely attached side handles and spouts. Although these teapots were dearly admired in Japan, in China they were inexpensive wares that actually functioned as pots for brewing medicinal herbs." (p90)

*In this case referring to southern China

"In one section he* distinguished seven different types of side-handled teapots that are generally known as kyusu but which he identified with the more archaic moniker of "kibisho." Rakusui considered Chinese teapots the best, the first acknowledgment of the existence of Japanese-made ones. Yet he noted that among the Chinese varieties some were good and others bad. He wrote that the best of the Chinese teapots were similar in shape to Baisao's Gikokan kettle** that he called Baisao gata (Baisao shape) (Figure 15), and noted that the Kyoto potter Kiyomizu Rokubei I (1733?-1799) copied this form. Rokubei, the only Japanese potter named by Rakusui, was later acknowledged as the first Japanese potter to produce wares for sencha. His utensils, primarily braziers and teapots, appear to be faithful copies of Chinese originals (Kawahara 1985, 26, pl. 8)." (p93)

*Rakusai, in his Detailed Record of Sencha published 1798
**A 17th or 18th century Chinese kettle
Nice, good find!

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Re: Fashion in Teaware – or what’s up with the side handles?

by victoria3 » Jul 3rd 16 7:34 pm

Yes excellent. Thanks. I also use the large Chinese herb side handled pot to steep dried herbs and roots from my acupuncturist.

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Re: Fashion in Teaware – or what’s up with the side handles?

by kyarazen » Jul 4th 16 2:17 am

thirst wrote:He wrote that the best of the Chinese teapots were similar in shape to Baisao's Gikokan kettle** that he called Baisao gata (Baisao shape) (Figure 15)
the baisao gata shape was a reason why i bought one of the latest pots from hokujo from AN... :) but that said.. in early qing to mid qing wares.. this shape is not common in teapots though.. at least not in china..

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Re: Fashion in Teaware – or what’s up with the side handles?

by Yannick » Jul 11th 16 9:05 am

I like the aesthetics of a sidehandled pot, and find them ergonomically convenient, especially when pouring into multiple cups for different people.
The one downside is that they're a lot less efficient in the way they take up shelf space! Pots with conventional handles are much easier to line up, and considering the clutter my teaware shelves are becoming I don't see myself buying any more sidehandled wares any day soon.

The use of such pots for southpaws is a discussion that has propped up before, and it seemed to make sense to me at first. Being right handed myself I decided to give it a swing pouring one of mine lefthanded, and personally didn't encounter much trouble aside from a general lack of dexterity in my left hand.
That said, I'd love to see more leftie oriented sidehandled pots available for my southpaw friends!