Water jar or incense burner 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; bronze cover
H x Diam: 13.9 × 16.1 cm (5 1/2 × 6 5/16 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) or incense burner (kogo)

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

To 1905
K. Suzuki, New York, to 1905 [1]

From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from K. Suzuki in 1905 [2]

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


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 1341, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Also, Curatorial Remark 13, Louise Cort, June 17, 2008, in the object record, states: "The dealer who sold Freer this bowl, K. Suzuki, was in New York when he wrote a letter to Edward Sylvester Morse dated 17 February 1905. This was the only time Freer purchased works from him."

[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)

K. Suzuki (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


The shape of this vessel is exotic, recalling something nonindigenous such as Delft or even more so Italian Majolica ware. The decoration is in the Kenzan traditon, 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.

In additon, this piece has a bronze cover with a reticulated design of cherry blossoms. The cover in effect turns the exotic vessel form into an incense burner. There is also a clumsily executed overglaze enamel leaf design in the bottom of the jar.

Two similar pieces exist, another in the Freer collection (F1904.358) and one in the collection of the Idemitsu Museum of Art, Tokyo.

Published References
  • Richard L. Wilson. The Potter's Brush: The Kenzan Style in Japanese Ceramics. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 41, p. 117.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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