Tea bowl with design of pampas grass

Tea bowl, low ovoidal; low foot. Gold lacquer repair.
Clay: fine-grained buff stoneware
Glaze: transparent, over white slip.
Decoration: in cobalt and iron, under glaze. Grasses.

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Maker(s)
Artist: Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743) Chojiyamachi workshop
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1712-ca. 1731
Medium
Buff clay; white slip, cobalt and iron pigments under transparent glaze
Dimensions
H x W: 6.9 x 11.1 cm (2 11/16 x 4 3/8 in)
Geography
Japan, Kyoto prefecture, Kyoto
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1911.402
On View Location
Freer Gallery 06: Rinpa: Creativity Across Time and Space
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Tea bowl

Keywords
Edo period (1615 - 1868), grass, Japan, tea
Provenance

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

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

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

Notes:

[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 2189, 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

Description

Tea bowl, low ovoidal; low foot. Gold lacquer repair.
Clay: fine-grained buff stoneware
Glaze: transparent, over white slip.
Decoration: in cobalt and iron, under glaze. Grasses.

Label

The pampas grass (susuki; Miscanthus sinensis) is renowned as one of the seven grasses of autumn, and is so designated in Japan's oldest native verse collection, the eighth-century anthology Mamyoshu (Collection of myriad leaves). As a ritual offering, susuki appears in the full-moon festival jugoya--the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month), where celebrants arrange an offering of fruit, rice dumplings, and pampas grass to the moon-spirit. Pampas grass rose to prominence as a motif in the late sixteenth century, when it was employed as a lacquer decoration in the Toyotomi family mortuary temple, Kodaiji. By Kenzan's time, it had become a general autumnal symbol as in this poem:


Pampas grass in the wind--
Waves farewell, farewell
To the departing autumn.

Published References
  • Richard L. Wilson. The Potter's Brush: The Kenzan Style in Japanese Ceramics. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 58, p. 141.
  • Louise Allison Cort. The Kenzan Style in Japanese Ceramics. Watertown, Massachusetts, Autumn 2002. p. 167.
  • Jack Hobbs, Richard Salome, Ken Vieth. The Visual Experience., 3rd ed. Worcester, Massachusetts, 2004-2005. p. 368.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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