Tea ceremony rinse-water bowl

Artist: Nonomura Ninsei (active ca. 1646-77)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, mid 17th century
Stoneware with ash glaze
H x W x D: 8.7 x 17.4 x 13.9 cm (3 7/16 x 6 7/8 x 5 1/2 in)
Japan, Kyoto prefecture, Kyoto, Omuro kiln
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Tea ceremony rinse-water bowl (kensui)

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

To 1911
Y. Fujita and Company, Kyoto, to 1911 [1]

From 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Y. Fujita and Company in 1911 [2]

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


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 2184, 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)

Y. Fujita and Company (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


The Shigaraki kilns were known for storage jars made of unglazed reddish clay with a gritty texture. In the late sixteenth century Shigaraki potters began using this clay to make tea utensils.  Ninsei's bowl for receiving water used to rinse tea bowls employs Shigaraki clay that was processed to remove the grit and make it easy to throw, then remixed with some stones to add texture. A splash of ash glaze evokes the natural deposits of melted ash on old Shigaraki storage jars.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 195.
  • Louise Allison Cort. Clay as Content: The Significance of Shigaraki Clay in Japanese Ceramics. no. 3, December 2003. p. 40, fig. 2.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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