The kettle above was made by the historically well-known Japanese metalwork studio, ryubundo (龍文堂). In its three-hundred-year-long history, ryubundo is always known for their exquisite workmanship and unique designs. Having got inspiration from other forms of art, the masters of ryubundo were always painters, poets, sinologists, art historians, besides craftsmen. Ryubundo was mentioned in Natsume Sōseki’s novel, and was described as the highest level of teawares back at his time (early 20th century). This iron kettle with wild goose and kanshi pattern combines crudeness and sophistication. The uneven surface almost keeps the original state of the ironstone, indicating the wabisabi spirit of Japanese tea culture. Meanwhile, the calligraphy on the body and the gold and silver inlaid wild goose pattern on the handle shows the delicacy of the craftsmanship.
From the very early of its history, dating back to the early 18th century, the metalwork studio “Ryubundo” 龍文堂 always represents the highest standard of tetsubin (Japanese iron kettle) making. From the founder of the studio, Shiho Ryubun (1735-1798), every successive director of the studio ryubundo were talented not only in metalworking, but also in painting, calligraphy, and poetry. Therefore, the aristocratic, literatic taste are the main features of ryubundo tetsubin. From the middle of Edo Period (1603-1868) when tea culture was popular everywhere in Japan, the development of ryubundo reached a boom, and this boom continued to the latter Meiji Period (1868~1912), and the studio was mentioned in the ironic novel by the famous Japanese writer Natsume Soseki, I Am a Cat. The sentence writes “those people living a luxurious life would lose their sleep if they could not hear the sound made by the lid of ryubundo iron kettles when water is boiling”