Ōnishi Jyōgen 大西浄元 (1689-1762)
Iron, bronze and silver
Japan, Edo period, 18th century
H. 5 ½ in (14cm) – L. 7 1/2 in (19cm) – Ø. 5.9 in (15cm)
Tomobako (original box)
Ōnishi Jyōgen was the 6th head of the Ōnishi family whose members have worked as important kamashi (tea ceremony iron kettle artisan) from the end of the Muromachi period through the present. The Ōnishi family is appointed as a kamashi for the Senke-Jissoku. This is an honorific title for the ten artisans who produce the tea ceremony utensils for the Three Sen Schools, Omotesenke, Urasenke, and Mushakōjisenke.
Chōshi is a utensil for serving sake during a tea ceremony meal (cha-kaiseki). It is made of many materials such as iron, lacquer, and ceramic. However, it was originally made of iron to warm sake directly at the hearth at that period. Consequently, it was mostly the kamashi who made chōshi.
The designs of shippō-mon and rai-mon are depicted here on an iron body. Three small legs support the round stocky body and the whole shape has an undeniable charm. The fan-shaped cover (called tomobuta) is made of silver and is the original one. The bronze handle is very thin and has a corrugated shape which allows the server to pour easily. The object was clearly made with a great attention to detail.