Ryoro (brazier used in Senchado [green tea ceremony]) (涼炉)
Ryoro is a utensil used to boil water in senchado. It is also called 'konro' (portable cooking stove), 'charo' (furnace) and 'furo' (furnace).
Originally ryoro was a portable water heater developed in China to use fire out door for Nodate (open-air tea ceremony). Conventionally it was disposed when it becomes old or after use. Therefore there was hardly any ryoro with elaborated sculpture and design.
Ryoro was introduced to Japan together with senchaho (method of green tea) in Edo period. The fact that ryoro was a foreign goods and simplicity of bisque (fired pottery) moved literati's heart and became prized. Thereafter, ryoro with elaborated design started to be manufactured in China in the middle of the Qing period. Also ryoro with various decorations was produced in Japan on the order.
Ryoro as an art object which has been loved and handed down are as follows:
The Ming period: 'Indo-seifu,' 'yomei-gori,' and 'Obai-tei;' Ryoro from this time period is hardly remaining.
The Qing period: 'Niju-fumon,' 'Nijudo,' 'Ninjinde.'
Edo period: 'Fujinro,' 'Enka-yusho,' and 'Shimoro' made by Mokubei AOKI, and 'Kimen-hakudei-ryoro' made by Dohachi NINNAMI. However ryoro is easily damaged from usage with flame therefore passed down art object with good condition is rare.
A mechanism is the same as shichirin (earthen charcoal brazier [for cooking]). There is a hole to supply wind called 'fumon' (wind's gate) at the front, and at the top section there is 'hibukuro' (burning place of toro), a hole to put charcoal in and place bofura (ceramic kettle).
Ryoro comes in various shapes such as square-shaped and hexagonal-column shape, but cylinder shape is favored.
Form of ryoro is classified as follows:
Sanbo-ro: Ryoro with the space between tsume (a pallet or a part hold the tea kettle) on upper part is lower. Ichimonji-ro: Ryoro with space between tsume on upper part is straight.
As ryoro is a utensil used with flame to boil water, it is mostly a bisque, which can withstand high temperature. Recent years, ceramic ryoro with various decorations have also been produced, but many have a bisque part for hibukuro where fire is stoked.
Recent years, there are some issues in use of ryoro such as trouble of maintaining charcoal fire, and a restriction of indoor fire usage, especially at chashitsu (tea-ceremony room) managed by public body. From such reasons, ryoro with electric cooking stove (electrical resistance), a replacement of hibukuro part, is often used.