Nambu Cast Ironwork
Present-day Morioka is at the center of an area which was controlled by the Nambu clan at the beginning of the 17th century. It was then that craftsmen practiced in the art of making chagama or pots used to heat water for the tea ceremony were invited to Morioka from Kyoto. Many more casters were subsequently engaged by the clan and the production of weapons, chagama , and other pots began in earnest.
The now famous Nambu Tekki teakettles were the result of refining and scaling down the larger chagama, a process which happened in the 18th century, and they became widely used because of their lightness. Cast-iron kettles were also being made in the adjoining area of Mizusawa, which in the past was governed by the Date clan. During the Meiji era (1868-1912) there was an exchange of ideas and techniques between the two areas, leading to the cast-iron work from this larger area being called Nambu Tekki from the 1950s.
The durability and rich yet unassuming character of Nambu Tekki is well known and the distinctive raised spot patterns on the teakettles and chagama somehow speak of the warmth and spirit of their makers.
“Spartan design” and “durable and long-lasting” are the key images of Nambu Tekki ironwares. The intricate designs and “hail” pattern of stubs on the tea kettles and iron kettles allow one to feel the inner-workings and warmth of the hearts of the great many people that devoted themselves to making each kettle.
How to make
Nambu Tekki ironwares are a cast iron product, and even today follow the same steps of production: molding, drying, pressing the decorations, hammering the surface for finishing, and applying lacquer. A key characteristic of Nambu Tekki ironware is its method of preventing rust even on the inside of the kettle by heating the kettle to 900℃ in a charcoal fire for 30 minutes.