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Iwachu Reiwa (?) Era dragonfly cast iron kyusu

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Japanese Metal Work134 of 200Iwachu concentric circle cast iron nabeshiki (trivet)Iwachu Reiwa (?) Era dragonfly cast iron kyusu
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    Posted 2 years ago

    (926 items)

    This Iwachu kyusu (teapot) measures 7.5" long x 5.5" high, with handle and spout, and 6" x 2.5" without. The exterior depicts two dragonflies and is red/brown with gold accents. It holds 16 ounces of water. It is urushi lined with a maker's mark and "MADE IN JAPAN" on the bottom. It has what I am calling the "Reiwa" mark for the era of Emperor Naruhito who began his reign on 1 May 2019. I THINK that this is how Iwachu is marking their teapots, etc., basing their marks on the reign of the Japanese emperors. Just a guess, on my part, but I will ride this horse until it bucks me off. I hope I don't get trampled.

    I have looked at a few dozen of these teapots and find only two marks. First is this one, with three sets of characters in a box and "Made in Japan" in a box on the same side, under the spout. The other version has the bottom two sets of characters in a box under the spout and "Made in Japan" in a box on the opposite side of the bottom. My assumption is that one mark is Heisei (1989-2019) and the other is Reiwa (2019-). I have found none at all with the Showa mark (1926-1989). Teavana sold these same Iwachu marked teapots and did not re-brand them.

    This is one of my early January purchases which has been lost in the mail. I had zero intention of buying another teapot in January because I had already bought two, and definitely not another Iwachu, but this one came with what I call the "second most common Iwachu trivet" which I didn't have yet. The cost of the teapot and trivet was much less than what the trivet alone often sells for, and shipping was free, so I really bought this for the trivet that came with it and the teapot is a bonus. I will give it a test ride, however, and update my post when I do so.

    I am not that enthused with teapots like this with a colored finish as I don't think anything can be done to freshen them up if they get scuffed or rusty, unlike the traditional finish. Note that this teapot has a lot of scuffing to the bottom from the trivet it came with. The trivet has gold and red on it from the teapot.

    I have no doubt that these were bought as a set from the Kotubuki Trading Company as the trivet still has the Kotobuki label and a new Iwachu mark that I have never seen before. I think this set is less than two years old. The teapot had what looked like flaws to the urushi lining and the seller mentioned that in her description, but when I got it, I found that what looked like holes in the lining washed off with a wet paper towel revealing a perfect finish. I have no clue why sellers don't take a few minutes to clean up the stuff they sell. I have had this experience many times. The teapot and trivet are still available from Kotobuki for $85 and $25, respectively, not including shipping, and I paid well less than a third of that for a nearly new set, so I can live with the potential finish issues. With a little patience, it is possible to find and buy a really nice used Iwachu teapot from various on line auction sites at a very affordable price. Many are modern, mass produced, green sand cast teapots but do the job effectively and with style, though I do still occasionally find good deals on traditionally made kyusu.

    I did later buy another Iwachu teapot, after being unable to find anything else like it after an extensive search. It is a real oddball and also has the new Reiwa mark so may be a new line or an experimental piece.

    I think a new CW category for Japanese cast iron teapots may be needed, or perhaps a "Japanese Metal Ware" category as there are many non-teapot metal items associated with tea services! My newer ones don't fit in the Japanese Antiques category.

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    1. jscott0363 jscott0363, 2 years ago
      I love the dragon fly on this one. Your collection of Japanese teapots and trivets is amazing!! Perhaps CW will create a Japanese teapot category. I'll bet if you ask them, they would.
    2. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment jscott0363! I like this design, too! Maybe I will ask CW to create a "Japanese Metal Ware" category as there are lots of metal objects made by the Japanese for tea service....

      Thanks for loving my dragonfly teapot jscott0363 and dav2no1!
    3. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thank you fortapache!
    4. Newfld Newfld, 2 years ago
      Beautiful cast iron teapot, love the dragonfly motif & gleaming finish
    5. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment, Jenni!

      Thanks for loving my dragonfly teapot Blammoammo, Kevin, aura, Thomas, Jenni, mcheconi and RichmondLori!
    6. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Eileen! I will admit that I do often pause and stare at this pot and sometimes run my hands over it. It is a classic, but maybe a modern classic as I cannot find examples of this pot with older Iwachu marks on them. The dragonfly has been a theme on Japanese pottery and cast iron ware for centuries, though. It is iconic. I suspect that Iwachu has used dragonfly themes since their founding, but the design of this pot may be a 2000s design. I am still gathering data on that. One reason, I think, that Iwachu is so prominent among Japanese foundries is that they are constantly experimenting with designs and trying new things, introducing new products. It is a challenge to keep up with them. I am going to minimize the damage to the finish on this pot going forward and perhaps look for a wooden trivet to use with it...
    7. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for taking a look at my Iwachu dragonfly teapot PhilDMorris!
    8. racer4four racer4four, 2 years ago
      I am often envious of the pieces you find Kevin, we just don’t have the population or interest here and of course buying from the US means paying post which blows costs out of the water.
      It’s a beautiful teapot, despite it having no patina yet. I love the shape of these, and dragonflies are special.
    9. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment and for loving my teapot, Karen! Yeah, it looks like the days of cheap postage are gone, though I do see some reductions in cost from Japan to the US after increases during the Covid crisis. Not sure this teapot will get any patina. The finish is unknown to me, not sure what it is. It is growing on me, though. You see a lot more Japanese glass than I do!
    10. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks Eileen!

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