Water jar with design of maple leaves

Artist: Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743) Edo-Iriya Workshop
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1731-1743
Buff clay with white slip and iron pigment under transparent glaze, and enamels over glaze; lacquer additions to lost enamels; lacquered wooden lid
H x Diam: 14.2 × 15.9 cm (5 9/16 × 6 1/4 in)
Japan, Tokyo, Iriya district
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 (mizusashi)

Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, tea, water

To 1904
Michael Tomkinson (1841-1921), Kidderminster, England, to 1904 [1]

From 1904 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), given by Michael Tomkinson in 1904 [2]

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


[1] See Original Pottery List, S.I. 385, 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)

Michael Tomkinson (C.L. Freer source) 1841-1921
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


The lacquer lid suggests that this piece was used as a water jar for the tea ceremony, although similar pieces, fitted with metal lids, were used as incense burners. The shape is exotic, recalling something nonindigenous such as Delft or even more so Italian Majolica ware. The decoration is in the Kenzan tradition, recalling camellia designs depicted in white against a green ground; this was a stock Kenzan-ware item in the second quarter of the eighteenth century.

Two similar pieces exist, another in the Freer collection (F1905.24) and one in the collection of the Idemitsu Museum of Art, Tokyo.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 204.
  • Warren E. Cox. The Book of Pottery and Porcelain. 2 vols., New York. vol. 1: p. 236, fig. 426.
  • Richard L. Wilson. The Potter's Brush: The Kenzan Style in Japanese Ceramics. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 40, p. 116.
  • Jack Hobbs, Richard Salome, Ken Vieth. The Visual Experience., 3rd Edition. Worcester, Massachusetts, 2004-2005. p. 369.
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.

Related Objects