Kyoto ware individual serving bowl in shape of sedge hat, with mark “Kiyomizu”

Historical period(s)
Edo period, late 17th century
Stoneware with iron pigment under translucent white glaze; gold lacquer repairs
Kyoto ware
H x Diam: 4.7 × 14.3 cm (1 7/8 × 5 5/8 in)
Japan, Kyoto prefecture, Kyoto, Kiyomizu kilns
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, Kyoto ware, lacquer repair, Old Kiyomizu ware, stoneware

To 1897
Rufus E. Moore, New York to 1897 [1]

From 1897 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Rufus E. Moore in 1897 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 388, 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.

Previous Owner(s)

Rufus E. Moore (C.L. Freer source) 1840-1918
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


This ceramic bowl takes the form of a common and inexpensive hat made of the marsh grass sedge. Cobalt lines suggest the hat's coarse woven texture. Such hats not only protected wearers from the sun but also disguised those who did not wish to be recognized, especially men on their way to the pleasure quarters. (Shops at the entrance to Kyoto's entertainment district sold hats specifically for that purpose.) In sophisticated Kyoto, a bowl of this shape would have lent an amusing note to a meal served in a tea house.  Alternatively, if the bowl were used for a summer meal, the associations of shape and material might have been merely seasonal. Sets of bowls in this shape were enduringly popular in the repertory of Kyoto ceramics.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 205.
  • Oka Yoshiko. Kinsei Kyoyaki no kenkyu [Research on Kyoto ceramics of the early modern period]., 1st ed. Kyoto. p. 231, fig. 8.
  • Oka Yoshiko. Kinsei Kyoyaki no kenkyu. Kyoto. p. 231, fig. 8.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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