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Oitomi cast iron Hisago Kyusu

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Japanese Metalwork56 of 92Second Oitomi tonbo (dragonfly) kyusuIwachu cast iron choshi (sake warming) kettle
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    Posted 6 months ago

    kwqd
    (818 items)

    This Oitomi hisago (gourd) themed kyusu (teapot) is 6" long x 5.5" high, including handle and spout, and 5.5" in diameter x 2.5" high minus spout and lid. It is urushi (enamel) lined. It has the Oitomi mark molded into the bottom and a Kotobuki label. It weighs 2.34 lbs and came with its infuser (Yay!). It appears to be unused but I purchased it as "used" for a modest amount on an on line auction site. It is the same size and about the same weight as the tonbo (dragonfly) themed Oitomi kyusu I posted recently. This is a good research piece as is shows that Kotobuki was not always mainly selling Iwachu products. Kotobuki still has an "artisan" teapot section on their web site where "special" teapots are sold, which is where this kyusu was probably offered.

    This one took quite a while to get to me as the seller was slow to ship it. No complaints, though! I spotted this one late one evening on an on line auction site and there was a "Best offer" option so I fell asleep strategizing about what offer to make the next day and settled on making an offer of 75% of the asking price. I was very surprised and pleased the next morning to find that the seller had offered me a 50% discount(!), so I did not have the opportunity to implement my devious strategy.

    Here is a good link if you want to learn more about Oitomi and it includes a link to their web site:

    https://www.booniehicks.com/oitomi-cast-iron/

    Oitomi and Oigen were founded by the same family and are sister companies. Their marks are somewhat similar and, for awhile, I was very confused when trying to identify the maker of their kyusu until I read about their relationship. What I am learning is that major American distributors like Kotobuki, Teavana and Chen all sold kyusu by several Japanese makers (Iwachu, Oigen, Oitomi, etc.) which can complicate identifying the makers of some of their wares.

    Oitomi is still making this kyusu (you can buy it on Amazon!) and several other Japanese foundries and at least one Chinese foundry are making similar versions. Buying one of these on Amazon is really putting in an order to have one made for you, which takes several weeks as these are individually hand made to order. My impression is that this is a pretty old, traditional design, but I am not certain that is the case and I do not know how long it has been in Oitomi's product line.

    Some of my images are a bit off as I am still wrestling with an infection in my eyes, focus problems, cloudy eyes, dry eyes, etc., and cannot really tell if my images are any good while I am taking them. I may redo some of these images when I am better (My progress is good). Sorry!

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    Comments

    1. jscott0363 jscott0363, 6 months ago
      Nice one!! I really love the design on this and I love the handle as well.
    2. kwqd kwqd, 6 months ago
      Thanks for your comment jscott0363. I like the contrasting roughness and smooth surfaces used in the mold to make the Oitomi pieces in my collection.

      Thanks for loving my latest arrival fortapache, jscott0363, Watchsearcher, Kevin and Hoot60!
    3. Newfld Newfld, 6 months ago
      Beautiful leaf design & steel grey color, very nice
    4. kwqd kwqd, 6 months ago
      Thanks for your comment, Jenni!

      Thanks for loving my tardy kyusu Watchsearcher!
    5. kwqd kwqd, 6 months ago
      Thanks couldbe, dav2no1, aura and Thomas!
    6. Ms.CrystalShip Ms.CrystalShip, 6 months ago
      Once again, great grey color, with lovely leaf designs!
      I asked Karen this question, maybe get an answer from you too.
      Why are Japanese import items sent in wooden crates? ( I do understand the piece is protected better, and maybe they don’t use plastics (?) which would be a wonderful thing, as plastics are ruining our environment) You would think the expense would be through the roof compared to cardboard. ( not to mention the expense of the trees). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider it a bad thing, as I feel there must be some history behind this, and that is what interests me :)
    7. kwqd kwqd, 6 months ago
      Thanks for your comments, Eileen! Oitomi does great work!

      The wooden boxes are called tombobako and in the past were traditionally used in Japan by artists to accompany their artwork, often hand made by the artist to complement the artwork. At first they were signed by the owners of the piece, but were later signed by the artists to personalize the tomobako to the artwork. The purpose of the tomobako was to provide safe storage for their artwork by their future owners. Later, tomobako became more widely used and were mass produced and often accompanied higher quality mass produced items. Tomobako are still produced and artists still sometimes include a tomobako to accompany their work, sometimes still made by the artist, but many more are mass produced. Tomobako were not originally made for export but items exported from Japan, new and old, may have a tomobako. I have artist made tomobako with unique artist pieces and more mass produced tomobako which accompanied higher quality mass produced pieces. It is safe to say that a tomobako suggests the high quality of the item it contains.

      Here is a link which contains a YouTube link which has a short but good description of the use of tomobako in Japan.

      https://traditionalkyoto.com/shopping/tomobako/

    8. Ms.CrystalShip Ms.CrystalShip, 6 months ago
      Thank you Kevin. That makes perfect sense. An artist would want to protect his handiwork, and of course, wood, is stronger, more durable than say cardboard. I do like the Japanese writing ( though I can’t read it). It’s like an art form all it’s own....
      Your collection of tea pots are second to none! I find them very interesting and very appealing, I had no idea so many different ones were made. For some reason I really like the “rust” colored one. To me, it’s beautiful!
    9. kwqd kwqd, 5 months ago
      Thank you Vynil33rpm!

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