★ Shigaraki ware frog tea pet antique ★
During tea ceremonies, small statues or mythological forms are often seen placed on the trays. These are the so-called tea pets (茶 宠, in Chinese "tea animal") they add an aura of magic but can also used as a decoration on the tray or bathed in tea, with the water used to rinse the leaves or with that used to heat and clean tea equipment, bathing them with tea the first time, according to Chinese tradition, it will give them a soul and doing the consecutive times will ensure that they will "feed" and will be able to release their powers, also having the ability to promote concentration and relax when used as meditative objects on which to focus one's attention during the tea ritual.
The market is large, and certainly the Asian world offers many variations, although it is a Chinese tradition i have difficulties in using poorly manufactured Chinese items. If the items come from a top-notch Chinese manufacturer, i feel reassured, but i have a difficulties using items that worth a dollar. By following some Japanese schools contrary to the rules i leave a door open to other cultures too, so i am exploring the use of tea pets made in Japan and i focused on their use even if not strictly Chinese, as long as they are limited and highly selective products and not massive production.