Skip to main content

Illustrated calligraphic ms - c. 1850-1865 - devoted to the ceramic vessels used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony

Identifier: Coll-1693

Scope and Contents

The four volumes comprising the illustrated ms on paper are entitled: Ko Bon Zu-e Ko, and Meibutsu Chajin Zu-e. These are volumes containing c. 188 watercolour illustrative diagrams of regional or speciality utensils – ceramic vessels or tea caddies - for students of the tea ceremony, chajin, and illustrations of incense trays and boxes.
The volumes are gathered in a cover which holds the label: Japanese manuscript (4 illustrated Vols) on Pottery (Kogo and Cha-Ire) of the Cha-No-Yu or Tea Ceremony.
The text and images of three volumes are on both sides of concertina-bound paper. The volumes are stitched in silk covered wrappers with ms labels to the upper covers. There is a circular label: Peer Groves collection.
The collection also includes a letter to Peer Groves from the British Museum Department of Oriental Antiquities and Ethnography, [4 March?] 1940.


  • 1850-1865

Biographical / Historical

The Japanese tea ceremony, also called the ‘way of tea’ is a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of powdered green tea (matcha). In Japanese the tea ceremony is called chanoyu. Zen Buddhisim was a primary influence in the development of the ceremony and the art and manner in which it is performed.
Tea gatherings are classified as: an informal tea gathering or chakai, offering a relatively simple course of hospitality that includes confections, thin tea, and perhaps a light meal; and a formal tea event chaji, usually including a full-course meal followed by confections, thick tea, and thin tea. A chaji can last several hours.
Some of the utensils used in the ceremony were:
kogo – small ceramic or wooden containers used to hold pieces of incense – their use varied with the seasons – wooden ones holding the chips of incense wood for summer ceremonies – ceramic ones holding kneaded incense in winter ceremonies
cha ire – tea container


4 Volumes : Wrapped in folding slipcase

Physical Location


Custodial History

At one time the volumes were part of the notable oriental collection of Major W. Peer Groves whose ceramics were sold by Sotheby’s in 1935 and acquired by many major institutional collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired November 2015. Accession no: E2015.87.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie 7 November 2015
Illustrated calligraphic ms - c. 1850-1865 - devoted to the ceramic vessels used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379