Kyoto ware jar with design of phoenixes and paulownia crests

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 2

Terms of Use

Usage Conditions Apply

At A Glance

  • Period

    late 17th century
  • Geography

    Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture, Japan
  • Material

    Stoneware with enamels over clear glaze; gold lacquer repair; lacquered wooden lid
  • Dimension

    H x Diam: 21.9 × 18.1 cm (8 5/8 × 7 1/8 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    Jar. Gold lacquer repairs. Black lacquer cover.
    Clay: hard, sonorous, beige. Stained where exposed at base.
    Glaze: translucent fish-roe crackle.
    Decoration: in green, blue and red enamels, and gold, over glaze. Gold lost in areas. Pair of phoenixes, five paulownia crests, kashiwa leaves and grasses, and vinescroll motif.
    Seal and inscription.
  • Marks

    Seal: kiyo [JPN].
    Seal: kiyo [JPN].
  • Inscriptions

    The inscription on the base, written in ink, shows the jar's original use:
    tsubu to [JPN] jar capacity (literally to, equal to 4.8 gallons)
    tsuke me [JPN] quantity of me (=.1325 oz.)
    ni hyaku nanaju ho [JPN] 275 [me] (=36.4 oz or 2.2 lbs.)
    (The three-character inscription in the center of the base probably gives the owner's name)
    The inscription indicates that the jar was found to hold 275 me of tea leaves. (Compare a similar inscription on a Chinese tea jar, F1899.47.) The tea involved could well have been sencha, the Ming Chinese style of processed tea that became popular in the 18th century in Japan
  • Provenance

    To 1899
    Yamanaka & Company, New York, NY, to 1899 [1]
    From 1899 to 1919
    Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company in 1899 [2]
    From 1920
    Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]
    [1] See Original Pottery List, L. 87, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.
    [2] See note 1.
    [3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Kyoto Ceramics (November 9, 1984 to April 25, 1985)
    Untitled Exhibition, Japanese Art (October 3, 1947 to February 25, 1956)
    Untitled Exhibition, Japanese Art, 1946 (May 3, 1946 to October 6, 1947)
    Japanese and Korean Pottery, and Korean Bronze (May 2, 1923 to March 22, 1943)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Yamanaka and Co. 山中商会 (1917-1965) (C.L. Freer source)
    Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
  • Origin

    Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture, Japan
  • Credit Line

    Gift of Charles Lang Freer
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The National Museum of Asian Art welcomes information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Keep Exploring