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Some particularly admired tea utensils are called meibutsu. “Meibutsu” means “named thing” and every meibutsu has a special poetic name. The first meibutsu were not tea utensils, but musical instruments that were loved by courtiers, or swords loved by samurai.

In the 15th century, people who loved tea culture adopted this refined tradition for tea utensils. The first tea utensil given a poetic name seems to have been a tea leaf jar called Kokonoe (nine fold), mentioned in 1434 in the Mansaijugô-nikki, the dairy of the head of Daigo-ji in Kyôto.

People gave “poetic names” to tea leaf jars first, and then the tradition of giving names spread to tea caddies for powdered tea, and later tea bowls and vases.

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