Black Seto ware tea bowl

Small, stoneware tea bowl, roughly round in shape, with straight sides, flat bottom, and a simple rounded rim. Dark brown/black “setoguro” glaze.

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Historical period(s)
Momoyama period, 1590-1605
Light gray stoneware with black glaze
Mino ware, Black Seto type
H x Diam (overall): 7.5 x 12.5 cm (2 15/16 x 4 15/16 in)
Japan, Gifu prefecture, Mino kilns
Credit Line
Gift of Peggy and Richard M. Danziger
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Tea bowl

Japan, Mino ware, Black Seto type, Momoyama period (1573 - 1615), tea

To 1998
Peggy and Richard M. Danziger, New York City, to 1998

From 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Peggy and Richard M. Danziger in 1998

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Peggy and Richard M. Danziger


Small, stoneware tea bowl, roughly round in shape, with straight sides, flat bottom, and a simple rounded rim. Dark brown/black "setoguro" glaze.


The host planning a gathering for the Japanese tea ceremony, chanoyu, prepares by choosing a hanging scroll with calligraphy or painting, an object for display, and a range of utensils necessary for preparing tea. Such a selection is termed a toriawase. Based on subtle associations of history, place, or maker as well as visual correspondences, the toriawase creates the emotional and aesthetic framework for the enjoyment of tea.

Peggy and Richard Danziger, collectors and users of tea utensils, have chosen nine remarkable objects associated with chanoyu for the Freer Gallery. The Danziger gift, while not a toriawase in the narrow sense, is a thoughtful choice of harmonious and important tea objects representing the decisive period from the early sixteenth through the early seventeenth century when chanoyu evolved into an intimate and highly focused social activity transcending all boundaries in its accommodation of objects.

Some of the Danziger utensils came into existence through brilliant collaborations of tea masters, merchants, and skilled artisans who joined in the creation of something dramatically new; others came into being through the creative rescue of something old or even through the tea host's personal gesture of carving a tea scoop. All retain their distinctive packaging-silk bags, inscribed boxes, documents, and wrappers assembled over time by the succession of owners-that constitutes their histories as tea objects.

As guest curators for the evocative exhibition An Invitation to Tea in the Freer Gallery in 1996, Richard and Peggy Danziger assembled an adventuresome toriawase from gallery objects. Charles Freer loved the patina of tea ceramics but was seemingly disinterested in chanoyu and unaware of the significance of the packaging. The Danziger gift now enhances and expands the scope and meaning of the chanoyu-related objects within the Freer collection, bringing them into cultural focus for the first time.

Published References
  • Louise Allison Cort. Japanese Tea Culture: Art, History, and Practice. London and New York. fig. 3.13.
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 293-295.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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