Tea bowl with design of Mt. Fuji, possibly by an amateur potter, unknown Raku ware workshop

Historical period(s)
Edo period or Meiji era, 19th century
Raku-type earthenware with white slip inlay and Red Raku glaze; repaired with gold lacquer and silver staples
Raku ware, unknown workshop
H x Diam: 8.8 × 15.3 cm (3 7/16 × 6 in)
Japan, Kyoto prefecture, Possibly Kyoto
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Tea bowl

earthenware, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), Mount Fuji, Raku ware, tea

To 1903
Hirase Roko (1829-1908), Osaka, Japan, to 1903 [1]

From 1903 to 1904
Yamanaka & Company, acquired from Hirase Roko in 1903 [2]

From 1904 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company in 1904 [3]

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


[1] See Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record, as well as Curatorial Remark 6, Louise Cort, 1987, Curatorial Remark 8, Louise Cort, September 18, 2009, and Curatorial Remark 9, Louise Cort, March 31, 2011, in the object record.

[2] The Hirase collection was sold at auctions in 1903 and 1906. The 1903 sale, held on April 8, was managed in part by Yamanaka Kichirobei, and this fact presumably accounts for the fact that Freer acquired three former Hirase pieces from Yamanaka & Company (see F1904.317, F1904.319a-b, and F1904.326). These ceramic pieces had been offered in the New York sale, but were sold to Charles Lang Freer at a later date by Yamanaka (according to Curatorial Remark 6, Louise A. Cort, 1987, and Curatorial Remark 9, Louise Cort, March 31, 2011, in the object record).

[3] See note 2. See also, Original Pottery List, L. 1326, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[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) and Custodian(s)

Hirase Roko 1829-1908
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Yamanaka and Co. (C.L. Freer source) 1917 - 1965


This bowl was sold out of the Hirase Roko collection in 1903 at the same time as two famous Koetsu bowls, "Otogoze" and "Shigure." (Both went directly into other Japanese tea-utensil collections.) When Freer acquired this bowl, it was also attributed to Koetsu. Rather than an outright fake (especially since it is not signed), it seems to be an essay in the manner of Koetsu by an amateur potter. The workmanship is confident and rather competent, suggesting that it is by someone with a fair amount of experience in making tea bowls.

A clue to a Kyoto origin for this bowl is given by the distinctive clear glaze, with its lustrous surface and large-scale crackle. These same traits can be seen on a Red Raku bowl made by Joshinsai (1705-1751), seventh head of the Omote Senke school of tea, and thought to have been fired at the Raku workshop. Possibly this bowl was also fired at the Raku workshop.

A further indication of the maker's amateur status is the fact that the cracks and losses in the bowl occurred during firing rather than later during use. A professional potter would have discarded such a flawed bowl rather than repair it.

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

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.