This tea set would have been used for a Japanese tea ceremony. The items sit on a wooden three-tier shelf unit stained a dark brown color. This unit is enclosed by a lighter wooden case, which has a removable sliding shutter at the front. The shutter has Japanese characters written on it. The tea set pieces are attached to the three-tier shelf unit and include: one small ceramic tea cup with black glaze; one small basket; one small silver metal pot consisting of three pieces (two lids) and decorated with etched scroll and floral designs; one thimble-sized and -shaped silver metal container with lid; one small urn-shaped silver metal pot with a lid whose designs matching the larger pot; and one small wooden ladle or dipper held in a silver metal holder.
This object was donated to the Boston Children's Museum by the Citizens of Kyoto, Japan in 1976 to honor the Boston Kyoto Sister City relationship and the move of The Japanese House to Boston.
The tea ceremony is a tea-making ritual from Japan (and practiced less frequently in China and Korea). At a very basic level, tea ceremonies are a formalized way of making a hot drink, through a process that has been refined to yield the best taste. In Japanese, the tea ceremony is referred to as the "chado," literally "the Way of Tea," or "cha-no-yu" ("tea water"). In keeping with this Way of Tea, in the ceremony, tea essentially becomes more than just a drink: the tea ceremony is understood and practiced to foster harmony in humanity and with nature, and to discipline the mind, quiet the heart, and attain the purity of enlightenment.