Kyoto ware covered three-tiered food box

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 1

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At A Glance

  • Period

    first half of 18th century
  • Geography

    Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture, Japan
  • Material

    Stoneware with enamel decoration over colorless glaze; red lacquer additions
  • Dimension

    H x W x D: 21.3 x 19.5 x 17 cm (8 3/8 x 7 11/16 x 6 11/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    Tiered covered food box in three rectangular sections (a: bottom, b: middle, c: top) with cover (d); four small corner feet showing considerable wear; middle and top sections have inset square-cut foot which serves as a fitting flange for holding sections in place; same inset flange on cover; base of bottom section has twelve kiln support marks in three rows, irregular circles approximately 1.5 cm. in diameter. Fire cracks: vertical one in corner of blue enamel on inside of top section. Gold lacquer repairs: bottom section, three corners and crack fill on side wall; middle section, two corners; top section, one corner including two small restorations of missing pieces and a missing corner of a foot flange; cover, restorations in four sections of fitting flange.
    Clay: pale, gray-buff pottery, smooth, fine texture, hardness 7.5. Bottom section shows rusty orange of iron oxidization on edges of unglazed base, around kiln supports and on feet.
    Glaze: thin, transparent, fine semi-crystalline crackle with slight brown staining in some areas, soft luster, faint irridescent halation around decorated areas. Bases and all contact surfaces unglazed.
    Decoration: all-over design, inside and out, of plum, pine and bamboo painted in blue and green overglaze enamels, gold and a red material which is probably lacquer. The plum, pine and bamboo, "three friends of winter," a popular "auspicious" subject in China and Japan, has here been used in the form of scattered components, patterned with a slight difference on the inner and outer surfaces. A key-fret design in gold covers the joints between the sections, half the pattern being on each section. Similarly, different format motifs key together on each section to guarantee the correct placement of the sections one on each other. A blue band defines the bottom edge of bottom section. The low trefoil-shaped corner feet are enameled green. Green enamel covers the bisque contact surfaces on cover and all three sections.
    Outside design: on the pale "beige" background are small sprays of prunus and bamboo in blue, green and gold, and, in larger scale, prunus blossoms and pine sprays. The prunus blossoms have gold-outlined petals, two green, two blue, and one dark red on blue. This fifth petal is extraordinary.
    Inside design of cover, bottom and side-walls of each section: The light background is in some areas a little cooler and grayer in tone than on outside, due probably to difference in inside atmosphere during firing. The pattern is scattered prunus blossoms of varying size, three gold pine sprays, simple gold tendril scrolls embellished with delicate green leaf-like forms. Gold outlines the petals and draws the centers of the flowers. The disposition and composition of these elements is different in each section and the cover. Only side-walls and inside of cover have the specially treated red fifth petal.
  • Provenance

    Yamada Takeji, Kobe, Japan [1]
    To 1973
    Mayuyama & Co., Ltd., Tokyo, to 1973
    From 1973
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Mayuyama & Co., Ltd. in 1973
    [1] The object was included in an exhibition of Yamada Takeji's collection, held at the Osaka Municipal Art Museum, the Tokugawa Art Museum, and the Nezu Art Museum in 1967, and in a publication, Shoki Kyoyaki, later translated as Masahiko Sato, Arts of Japan 2, Kyoto Ceramics (N.Y., Tokyo: Weatherhill/Shibundo, 1973). See Curatorial Note 15, Louise Cort, January 5 1998, in object record.
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Japanese Arts in the Edo Period: 1615-1868, part 2 (March 8 to September 7, 2008)
    Moonlight and Clouds: Silver and Gold in the Arts of Japan (November 11, 2008 to November 11, 2009)
    Japanese Arts in the Edo Period: 1615-1868, part 1 (August 18, 2007 to February 24, 2008)
    Japanese Art in the Age of Koetsu (June 6, 1998 to February 15, 1999)
    Japanese Art (May 9, 1993 to June 27, 1994)
    Kyoto Ceramics (November 9, 1984 to April 25, 1985)
    Japanese Ceramics (June 22, 1982 to September 27, 1982)
    Japanese Ceramics (July 15, 1980 to June 21, 1982)
    Japanese Ceramics/Puppets (June 16, 1980 to July 14, 1980)
    A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980 (November 9, 1979 to May 22, 1980)
    Birds and Flowers of the Four Seasons in Japanese Art (September 14, 1977 to April 8, 1978)
    Harold P. Stern Memorial Exhibition (April 18, 1977 to September 13, 1977)
    Shoki Kyo-yaki (Early Kyoto Ceramics) (1967)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Yamada Takeji
    Mayuyama & Co., Ltd. (established 1916)
  • Origin

    Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture, Japan
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

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