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なぜ茶入が家宝になるのか?

粉末にしたお茶を入れる器を、「茶入」と呼びます。高さ7㎝ほどの小さなつぼで、多くは茶色い釉薬がかかった地味なものです。本来は中国で香料などを輸出する際の器でしたが、その中から形や色の優れたものが選ばれ、茶道具に取り立てられました。やがて茶道の流行にともない、これが高額で取引されるようになります。織田信長が家臣へのほうびに茶道具を与えたように、戦国時代には一国一城の価値さえ持つようになりました。

Tea Containers as Heirlooms

A container of powdered tea leaves for thick tea is called a cha-ire in Japanese.

It is just a small and subdued bottle, normally about 7 cm high and with a brown glaze. They were originally containers for herbs and the like, and were used to pack them for export from China. Japanese people chose ones with particularly appealing forms or colors, and they came to be used as tea utensils at tea gatherings.

As time went by and chanoyu became popular among people, these containers for powdered tea came to be very valuable. One of the most powerful warrior lords, Oda Nobunaga, gave tea utensils as awards for service in war. This shows that a single tea container was sometimes as valuable as a domain in the Warring States Period, in 16th century Japan.

唐物肩衝茶入 銘 松山
Tea Caddy with Angular Shoulder Known as “Shozan”

Photo by ColBase

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