Osaka Naniwa Pewter Ware
Pewter ware was first introduced to Japan some 1,300 years ago by envoys from China. Later during the early part of the Kamakura period (1185-1333), the Zen monk Eisai visited Sung dynasty China and returned with a maker of tea urns. His skills with pewter are said to mark the real beginning of this craft in Japan. It was not until the 18th century, however, that a production center was established in Osaka.
Pewter is a very stable metal. It is ideal for such things as a sake flask as it does not affect the delicate flavors of this rice wine, and the taste of water kept in a pewter container is improved by an ionic action. It is also good for flower vases and especially good for the storage of such things as tea, which would deteriorate in anything less than an air-tight container due to high temperature and humidity.
Tin is a very stable metal. It is very suitable for sake cups because the ion effect has strong water-purifying properties and it does not hide even the subtlest flavors. It is also suitable for flower vases and, being airtight and possessing high preserving properties even at high temperatures and in high humidity, is ideal for tea canisters.
How to make
Since tin’s peculiar softness makes it hard to process by machine, most manufacturing stages are performed by hand. The manufacturing process can be roughly divided into casting and polishing. After rough-surfaced castings are mounted on a turning lathe and their surface sanded with a special plane to make it smooth, they are then polished to bring out the gloss.