Kyoto ware tea cup, probably for serving New Year herbal tea

Artist: Hōzan Bunzō 宝山文造
Historical period(s)
Edo period or Meiji era, Second half of 19th century
Stoneware with clear glaze, gold and silver overglaze enamels
Kyoto ware
H x Diam: 5.8 × 9.5 cm (2 5/16 × 3 3/4 in)
Japan, Kyoto prefecture, Kyoto, Hozan Bunzo workshop, Awata
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Tea cup (obuku chawan)

Edo period (1615 - 1868), enamel, Japan, Kyoto ware, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), stoneware, tea

To 1906
Unidentified owner, Nikko, Japan, to 1906 [1]

From 1906 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from an unidentified owner, Nikko, Japan, in 1906 [2]

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


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 399, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. See also, Accession List, Collections Management office.

[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


Each year the Hozan Bunzo workshop in Awataguchi supplied small cups to the imperial palace, to be used for serving "great good fortune" (obuku) tea during the New Year festivities.The mixture of seaweed powder, pickled plum, and powdered spice was said to have been invented by the holy man Kuya (903-972) as antidote for a plague. The exquisitely shaped and decorated cups were used only once before being given to guests as souvenirs.

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