Shigaraki ware wide-mouthed jar

Historical period(s)
Edo period or Meiji era, 19th century
Stoneware with white, copper-green, and manganese-purple lead-silicate glazes; gold lacquer repairs
Shigaraki ware
H x Diam: 38.5 × 32.3 cm (15 3/16 × 12 11/16 in)
Japan, Shiga prefecture, Shigaraki
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Wide-mouthed jar (kame)

Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, lacquer repair, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), Shigaraki ware, stoneware

To 1905
Yamanaka & Company, New York, NY, to 1905 [1]

From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company, New York, NY, in 1905 [2]

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


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 1384, 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
Yamanaka and Co. (C.L. Freer source) 1917 - 1965


Underneath the unusual glazes lies a perfectly typical Shigaraki vat. Glazed in this manner, however, it suggests a potter's experimentation with the use of ornamental glazes, perhaps in an effort typical of the early Meiji era to develop a novel product with appeal for the export market. The interior is completely coated with copper-green lead glaze: some of the green glaze ran down onto the shoulder of the jar. The glaze around the rim is badly worn, but the remaining glaze seems to include patches of purple and brown as well as green. The extensive wear to the rim suggests that the jar might have been used in a retail tea shop as a container for tea, with a wooden or metal lid. Tea shops typically displayed a matching set of jars holding different types of tea, which were sold by measure.

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