Japanese Tea Set

One of the most common items to collect, if you are interested in Asian or Japanese antiques is a Japanese Tea Set. These delicate, fine items, made from pottery or porcelain are very valuable, collectible and desirable.

Green Tea was first used by religious groups back in the 13th century and since then, tea and tea ceremonies have become very important to Japanese people who still perform them today.  The cups were also used to drink Sake, another popular drink from Japanese culture.  Each of the items in the Japanese Tea Set are handled with great care and cleaned thoroughly before and after use. The ceremony is carried out with certain movements and processes performed at certain times.

The pottery or porcelain used to serve the tea to the guests is usually quite small. The cups or bowls that are used to drink from are only large enough to contain no more than 3-4 small mouthfuls of tea. Nothing like the mugs we use for our coffee. As with other Satsuma Pottery, the items will be highly decorated with images of Japanese life, flowers, wildlife or people. They also follow the same crackling glaze as seen on other items such as the popular Satsuma Vases, but also with a yellowish glaze to them.

If you are looking to purchase a Japanese or Satsuma Tea Set, one of the most important things to consider is the condition. Most tea sets were kept in a wooden box which is inlayed with silk or another soft cloth. Therefore, the items should be well cared for, clean and undamaged. Look out for hairline cracks or chips in the cups and bowls as these will be most likely.

You also need to remember that the Satsuma style was heavily copied throughout the world and therefore, not all "Satsuma" marked pieces are real antiques. Make sure you know what you are buying before you pay.  Another tell-tale sign to look for when buying any piece of Satsuma is that it should have a yellowish glaze to it.  Man,y more modern pieces, appear whiter than they should, which is a good sign that they have been produced using more recent technologies.

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