Bofura (a ceramic kettle) (ボーフラ)

Bofura is a utensil for boiling water and a type of dobin (earthenware teapot). It is mainly used in Senchado (green tea ceremony using Sencha [brewed green tea]) at procedure for making tea.

Names

Bofura is written as '保夫良' or '保宇夫良' in Chinese characters, which varies with the schools.
Bofura is also called in different names such as 'Yukan,' 'Yubin' and 'Yuwakashi.'
Some schools use a name 'Bobura.'

The most convincing theory for the origin of this unfamiliar name is a transfer of the word 'abobora,' which meant for 'a pumpkin' in Portuguese, as shape of Bofura was similar to a pumpkin.

Shape

Shape of Bofura is exactly the same as kyusu (small teapot), but it has a distinctive shape of very round body as shown in name origin. Bofura is directly put on to a fire therefore it is a made of earthenware of Suyaki (biscuit fire), not a ceramic made.

Bofura is roughly classified as follows:

Uwateshiki: Handle-on-the-upper-section style

Yokoteshiki: Handle-on-the-side-section style
Uwateshiki is generally larger and used with binkake (small-size brazier), and Yokoteshiki is used with ryoro (brazier).

Senchado and Bofura

A metallic water boiler such as caldron and iron kettle is commonly used in Sado (Japanese tea ceremony using Matcha [green powdered tea]). However, in Senchado, it is said that 'metallic water boiler ruins tea flavor,' therefore metallic water boiler is avoided as much as possible. Water that boiled with a kettle, especially bofura, is valued. In contrast to Senchado, nowadays metallic (mainly stainless steel) and heat-resistant glass made kettles are commonly used for Chinese tea, which was the origin of Senchado.

Like other utensils in Sencha, Bofura is a utensil of Chinese origin. Even at present time, passed down art objects which crossed over to Japan in Ming and Qing period are highly esteemed and traded in high price. Especially Bofura imported in Bunsei era is a rare object called 'Bunsei-watari' (article brought over in Bunsei era). Bofura of 'Bunsei-watari' is made with good quality soil therefore it is very thin, and said as if they were holding the kettle made of paper. Also its surface is said to be so shiny for a bisque (fired pottery).

Bofura has also been produced domestically like other Sencha utensils. However domestically produced Bofura is thicker and heavier because of the soil type, and is cheaper than imports.