Vase, with lacquer lid for use as tea ceremony water jar

Historical period(s)
Momoyama period, 1596-1615
Stoneware with iron and rice-straw-ash glazes
Karatsu ware, Chosen Karatsu type
H x Diam: 22.1 × 11.9 cm (8 11/16 × 4 11/16 in)
Japan, Saga prefecture, Imari
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Vase (hanaire) or tea-ceremony water jar (mizusashi)

Japan, Karatsu ware, Chosen Karatsu type, Momoyama period (1573 - 1615), stoneware

To 1905
Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1905 [1]

From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkio Matsuki in 1905 [2]

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


[1] See Original Pottery List, pg. 324, 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


This vase exhibits the massive proportions, distorted form, and complex glazing characteristic of avant-garde Japanese ceramic taste at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Potters working at various kilns in southern Japan, including Takatori and Satsuma, produced richly varied surfaces on many of their tea wares by combining iron-brown and rice-straw-ash white glazes. Where the two glazes overlapped or ran together, they produced shades of chocolate or blue-black, often with speckled texture. Karatsu ware bearing this combination of overlapping glazes is known as "Korean Karatsu." Despite its size, this vase originally was intended to hang from a hook in the alcove; after that practice went out of fashion, the hole was filled with dark lacquer.

Published References
  • Mizuoka Tadanari, Narasaki Shoichi, Hayashiya Seizo. Nihon yakimono shusei. 12 vols., Tokyo, 1980-1982. vol. 12: fig. 81.
  • , Kawahara Masahiko, Nakazato Tarouemon XII. Toji taikei [Complete Collection of Far Eastern Ceramics]. 48 vols., Tokyo, 1972-1978. vol. 13 (1972): p. 112, fig. 49, pl. 83.
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 160.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
The Story of the Beautiful
Google Cultural Institute
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