Kettle hook hanger , Ebisu type
Keyaki wood (Zelkova serrata)
Japan, Edo-Meiji period, 19th century
48 x 38 x 58.5 (h) cm
Activity within traditional Japanese farm families typically centered around a central open hearth (irori). This massive wooden hook (jizaikake) would have been suspended from the beams of a house. Cooking kettles or an iron teapot would have been suspended over the fire by a rope attached to the hook.
Fishhook-shaped pot hangers are called Ebisu, named after one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune (Shichifukujin) who is a tutelary deity of the kitchen usually depicted holding a fishing rod and fish. This excellent large-sized example has a clear lacquer finish which highlights the beautiful grain of the wood and the rich orange color typical of keyaki wood. Keyaki was the most expensive wood used for this purpose. It is a robust, long-lasting hardwood with a wonderful dense grain, which needs little maintenance.