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Tea Caddy of Bunrin Type, Known as "Hakata Bunrin"

China, 14th-15th century
H.6.4 cm
@ This karamono (Chinese) tea caddy was owned by the famous and influential Hakata merchant Kamiya Sotan (1551-1635). Sotan used his treasured caddy at a tea gathering he hosted for the great military ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) during the latter's campaign to pacify the island of Kyushu.After the gathering, Hideyoshi indicated his desire to own the piece, but Sotan boldly responded, "I will only part with it in return for half of Japan." This story illustrates not only the degree to which the best tea utensils were prized during the Momoyama period(1573-1615), but also the power and independence of the Hakata merchants of the time, who were able to approach on equal terms even one of Japan's greatest figures.

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Tea Caddy of Bunrin Type, Known as "Hakata Bunrin"
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