Tea bowl, possibly Karatsu ware

Historical period(s)
Edo period, early 17th century
Stoneware clay with ash glaze; gold lacquer repairs
Possibly Karatsu ware
H x W x D: 5.8 x 18 x 18 cm (2 5/16 x 7 1/16 x 7 1/16 in)
Japan, Saga prefecture
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Tea bowl

Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, Karatsu ware, lacquer repair, stoneware, tea

To 1898
Yamanaka & Company, to 1898 [1]

From 1898 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company in 1898 [2]

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


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 560, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. The majority of Charles Lang Freer’s purchases from Yamanaka & Company were made at its New York branch. Yamanaka & Company maintained branch offices, at various times, in Boston, Chicago, London, Peking, Shanghai, Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. During the summer, the company also maintained seasonal locations in Newport, Bar Harbor, and Atlantic City.

[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)

Yamanaka and Co. (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


When Charles Lang Freer acquired this tea bowl from a Japanese dealer, it was indentified as Korean. More recently some Japanese scholars have suggested that the bowl was made in Korean style at a Japanese kiln, possibly the Rakuzan kiln in Matsue city, Shimane prefecture, which specialized in Korean-style tea bowls. The bowl is housed in a wooden box with an inscription recording its receipt as a gift from the warrior-ruler of Matsue, Matsudaira Fumai (1751-1818).

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics (Toyo Toji Taikan): The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. pl. 254.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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