Sunday, June 18, 2006

Paris Hearts Tetsubin Teapots

Tea and chocolate are a natural pair for Parisians and you'll see giant tins of tea in most chocolate shops. The idea is you take an afternoon tea and nibble a few chocolates. 
All over Paris I kept seeing Japanese cast iron tea pots (une théière japonaise de forme plate) called
TETSUBIN. In specialty tea shops, in chocolate shops. These red enamel tea tins are inside La Bonbonnière de la Trinité in the 9ème. Note cast iron tea pots sitting on top of tins.
I passed this shop window on
rue de l'Odéon rushing to the Metro and was smitten. An entire window full of Tetsubin tea pots and inside too!
Each teapot is hand cast. The best are made in the Iwate district and called Nanbu-tekki. They were first produced in the 16th century for tea ceremony use.
This Japanese
surimono woodblock print by Teisai Shuri has influenced my still life watercolors, so it was a lovely surprise to see the same teapot 🫖 all over Paris.
I would stop by M.'s for a cup of tea after my morning swim and admire her teapot. Finally she lent it to me.

Hokusai used a tetsubin to heat his tea -- note the blackened bottom in both prints. *Never put your pot directly over the fire. Only brew your tea in the Tetsubin and it will retain the heat for a long time. I bought this Tetsubin when I got home on the Bowery at Leader's, a Japanese restaurant supply house. I'll paint it soon.


  1. Anonymous10:03 AM

    i like the mixt between la représentation (your painting) and la photo réaliste (the teapot or anything)

  2. I just love those teapots, they are so nice to look at and they keep the tea warm for a long time. Also since they are so heavy the lid doesn't fall off when you pour the tea, so no cup shattering accidents

  3. I never thought of the lid aspect La Page :) Japanese things are very well designed.And I do think these teapots are more appreciated in France than here...but so is the ritual of drinking tea perhaps.

  4. Yes coco...EVERYTHING does seem more stylish in Paris! I'd seen these teapots in New York before I'd left & thought Ho Hum...then I saw them in Paris and I was mad to get one.

  5. Anonymous10:14 PM

    I was given a lovely unglazed Japanese teapot - a beautiful reddish brown - and told NEVER ever to wash it with soap. Instead, it should be used only to brew one type of tea - darjeelin-- white silver needle-- whatever, just so long as the same type of tea is the only one brewed in the pot, and then rinsed with water. The idea is that the pot will take on and amplify the characteristics of the chosen tea in time....a notion I found very sympatico with "wok hay" or the flavor imparted by the wok itself which must never be cleaned with soap and water. I remained faithful to my darljeeling brew for many years, but recently have taken the death-defying plunge and brewed my silver needle tea in the pot! I live on borrowed time till the teapot gods find me out!

  6. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Just fabulous teapots!
    Just fabulous reading!
    I love it!


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