Posted 19 days ago
This arare (hobnail) themed tetsu kyusu is 5.75" in diameter x 2.75" high, weighs 2 lbs 10 ounces and holds about 20 ounces of water. It is marked, but the maker is unknown to me.
I bought this pot for three reasons. First, I recognized the nabeshiki that came with it as a very expensive, uncommon Japanese trivet. Second, the seller said it had no maker's mark on it, which I have never seen for a tetsu kyusu of this size and quality. Third the seller said it was found in the closest of a deceased person and appeared to be new. Mmmmm, dead guy's stuff is the best stuff! Come to my estate sale and see!
Examination of the images with this post, reveals that it is indeed marked. I have seen this mark a few times before on very distressed (banged up) tetsu kyusu and maybe on a testsubin, but only in images. I have never been able to physically examine an actual tetsu kyusu that has this mark before and did not think that the quality was very good. Based on my examination of the pot now in my collection, I have revised my conclusions.
This tetsu kyusu is of very high quality, made with a very fine mold, well finished and probably Japanese. There are no visible urushi plugs or a sprue found on the bottom of the products of some Japanese foundries. It is probably not Iwachu since every tetsu kyusu or tetsubin by that foundry which I have examined has one or both of those marks on the bottom. The exterior finish and lining appear to be traditional urushi, not enamel, but the spout, lid and handle have a glossy finish with a matte body.
I am pretty sure that it is not Chinese. I am not saying that the Chinese are incapable of making a tetsu kyusu of this quality, I am certain that they are and routinely have done so for many years, but I have not seen any in the imports to the U.S.. So, I have a new mark to research. I will not use this pot until I have confirmed that it is not Chinese since I do not trust the safety of eating/cooking tools made in that country.
The bottom of this tetsu kyusu shows significant wear from the very sharp hobnails on the nabeshiki which accompanied it. This is the only wear on this pot and why I am not a fan of using metal nabeshiki. I prefer wooden trivets, which are another common material used to make Japanese trivets.