Seiko Sato Natsume-gama

Metalworker: Seiko Sato

Approximate size: W 8.8″ by L 7.7″ by H 8.4 or 22.5.0 by 19.5 by 21.5 cm


Here’s a chagama, teakettle for use in the Tea Ceremony by the famous metalworker Seiko Sato (1916-). Seiko Sato works in Yamagata prefecture on Honshu Island which is mostly known for mountains, hot springs and temples. But also the old traditions of craftsmen! Chagama from Yamagata have been manufactured with great care and most of the process is based on old traditions. The body of this chagama was made from high quality iron ore and the lid (also handmade and decorated), has been forged from copper. The chagama is made in a Natsume shape, natsume references the Ziziphus Jujuba fruit which is colloquially called Jujube fruit.

If you are a tea connoisseur who likes to experience the taste of tea brewed in various teapots made of different materials ie. the stoneware pots of Tokoname or the porcelain kyusu of Arita yaki, you may prefer to use Nambu Tekki ware purely for the process of boiling water. It is said chagama alter the taste, or perhaps water boiled in a chagama tastes different than a simple pan or teakettle.

Chagama are made by making a mirror image of the intended shape and design in sheet metal which will then be used to create a mold (together with a counter part that creates the hollow interior), which will receive the hot molten iron. Molds deteriorate during use and after a certain number of uses the details will fade. Decorations such as the herons on this kettle are crisp and clearly formed indicating it was created early in the life cycle of the mold.

In the old days, cast iron kettles served multiple purposes in the home. They were used to boil water for household use as well as for making tea. The steam from the boiling kettle was also an economical way of providing extra heat and moisture to the home in the typically cold and dry winters. It is believed that water boiled in vast iron kettles absorbs the iron, a definite plus for those who feel their diets are iron-deficient.

This chagama is in excellent condition and has no inside or outside rust. It comes with signed paulownia tomobako or exclusive box, the rings with which the kettle can be moved to and from the hearth as pictured and a personal pamphlet from the artist. The interior has a rust preventing coating made of Japanese lacquer indicating this kettle item has not seen much, if any use.


Thank you very much!

The creation of one cast iron kettle consists of over 80 processes all of which have to be mastered by the young craftsman, learning while he works. Today’s workshops have to be aware of their customers needs and are continually striving to create pieces which are relevant to modern lifestyles, while still staying true to their roots.