An Ebisu Jizaigaki, Japanese Kettle Hook


19th Century

Zelkova Wood (Keyaki)

Width 44 cm Height 40 cm (17.5 x 15.75 in)

The jizaigaki is the hook from which is suspended the kettle for making tea and it is found in the heart of the home above the irori or sunken hearth where the family gathers and guests are welcomed.

Because of this focus much pride is taken in the beauty of the jizaigaki and those of carved wood take one of two forms. This strong J shaped hook with chamfered corners is known as Ebisu  and is named after one of the Seven Gods of Luck who are also favoured house gods. The Ebisu jizaigaki is named after the god Ebisu because it resembles his tall hat, kazaori ebosh. Ebisu is a god of wealth, fishermen and guardian of health in small children who is often depicted  with a fishing rod and carrying a red carp, symbol of good fortune, under one arm. It is no surprise therefore, that he was adopted as a god of the hearth.

Jizaigaki are known to have been in rural use during the Muromachi period, 14th to 15th century, and it is thought that they were introduced into tea houses by a master of the tea ceremony, Takeno Jouou (1502-55) who introduced an artistic sensitivity in the utensils used for the ceremony. Over time this aesthetic was adopted by society and this art form incorporated into wealthy homes.

Provenance: Private European Collection

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