Individual serving cup with design of pine-covered mountains and latticework fences

Buff clay. Underglaze iron painted decoration of pine-covered mountains and latticework fences, on alternating sides. Opaque white feldspathic glaze, unevenly applied; granular texture, running in drops. Three medium-sized round spur marks on round, recessed base inside foot. Character ichi (one) written in ink on base.

Historical period(s)
Momoyama period, 1592-1600
Medium
Stoneware with iron pigment under feldspathic glaze; ivory lid
Style
Mino ware, Decorated Shino type
Dimensions
H x W x D: 7 x 7.1 x 7.1 cm (2 3/4 x 2 13/16 x 2 13/16 in)
Geography
Japan, Gifu prefecture, Kani city, Kukuri village, Ogaya kiln group
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1900.82a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Individual serving cup (mukozuke)

Keywords
Japan, Mino ware, Shino type, Momoyama period (1573 - 1615), stoneware, tea
Provenance

Ikeda Seisuke (1839-1900), Kyoto [1]

To 1900
Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1900 [2]

From 1900 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkio Matsuki in 1900 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]

Notes:

[1] According to Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See Original Pottery List, L. 794, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[3] See note 2.

[4] 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)

Ikeda Seisuke 1839-1900
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Bunkio Matsuki (C.L. Freer source) 1867-1940

Description

Buff clay. Underglaze iron painted decoration of pine-covered mountains and latticework fences, on alternating sides. Opaque white feldspathic glaze, unevenly applied; granular texture, running in drops. Three medium-sized round spur marks on round, recessed base inside foot. Character ichi (one) written in ink on base.

Inscription(s)

Character ichi (one) written in ink on base. This is because the cup would have been made as one of a set of five or more, intended for use in serving the accompaniment to soup and rice on a diner's individual tray.

Label

Thick, pitted, and white, the glaze known as Shino, made with feldspar, was an unprecedented departure from earlier iron and ash glazes. It was developed by potters working at kilns with Mino province, the modern Gifu prefecture. Mino potters used Shino glaze on vessels made of pale, rough-textured clay. The soft, granular underfired glaze on this cup is typical of early Shino ware. By applying the light-colored glaze over designs painted with iron pigment or scratched into overall coating of iron slip (liquid clay), they created Japan's first pictorially decorated ceramics. Depending on the thickness of the glaze and conditions of firing, the iron might appear red, brown, gray, or even blue. A reddish "blush" sometimes developed on the vessel edges where the Shino glaze was thin.

This individual serving cup was made as part of a set of tableware. Later, after the set was dispersed, a subsequent owner converted the single cup to use as an ornamental "alternative tea container" for display in the tea room by providing it with a hinged ivory lid.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 47.
  • Hanna Szczepanowska. Conservationof Cultural Heritage: Key Principles and Approaches. .
  • Louise Allison Cort. Seto and Mino Ceramics. Washington and Honolulu, 1992. cat. 24, p. 94.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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