Kyoto ware jar with design of phoenixes and paulownia crests

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.

Historical period(s)
Edo period, late 17th century
Medium
Stoneware with enamels over clear glaze; gold lacquer repair; lacquered wooden lid
Style
Kyoto ware
Dimensions
H x Diam: 21.9 × 18.1 cm (8 5/8 × 7 1/8 in)
Geography
Japan, Kyoto prefecture, Kyoto
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1899.61a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Jar

Keywords
bird, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, Kyoto ware, lacquer repair, Old Kiyomizu ware, phoenix, plant, stoneware, tea
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]

Notes:

[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.

Previous Owner(s)

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

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.

Inscription(s)

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

Marking(s)

Seal: kiyo [JPN].

The seal on the base indicates that the jar was made at a Kiyomizu [Jap] workshop in eastern Kyoto. It is an early type of seal. The placement of the seal is unusual in being at approximately "3 o'clock" on the base rather than the usual "nine o'clock."

Label

The term "Old Kiyomizu ware" is sometimes given only to pottery decorated in the distinctive color scheme of green, blue, and gold enamels, sometimes to all Kyoto pottery that predates the beginning of porcelain production in the late 18th century. The decoration on this jar also incorporates red enamel. The jar may once have had a double lid of the sort used to give a tight seal for tea-leaf storage. Later it was fitted with a lacquered wooden lid for use as a freshwater jar in the tea ceremony. An inscription on the base records the jar's price.

Published References
  • Oka Yoshiko. Kinsei Kyoyaki no kenkyu (Research on Kyoto ceramics of the early modern period)., 1st ed. Kyoto. p. 229, fig. 4.
  • Oka Yoshiko. Kinsei Kyoyaki no kenkyu. Kyoto. p. 229, fig. 4.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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