Triangular water jar

Artist: Attributed to Raku Sonyu (1664-1716)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, early 18th century
Raku-type earthenware with Black Raku glaze
Raku ware
H x W: 24.4 x 21.6 cm (9 5/8 x 8 1/2 in)
Japan, Kyoto
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Tea ceremony water jar (tomobuta mizusashi)

earthenware, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, Raku ware, water

To 1901
Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1901 [1]

From 1901 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkio Matsuki in 1901 [2]

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


[1] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Pottery List, L. 999, 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) and Custodian(s)

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


The inscription on the outside of the box lid attributes this water jar (mizusashi) to the fifth master of the Raku workshop, Sonyu (d. 1716).  The inscription on the inside of the lid, bearing a black "Raku" seal that resembles Sonyu's, gives the five-character phrase written in relief of the jar.  The famous phrase, derived from the "Analects" of Confucius, appears on the first clause of Prince Shotoku's Seventeen-Article Constitution, issued in A.D. 604: "Harmony is to be valued."  The ideal of harmony (wa) was emphasized by Edo-period tea-ceremony theory, in part under the influence of the revival of Confucian studies by the Tokugawa government.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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