Historical period(s)
Muromachi period, 15th century
Stoneware with natural ash glaze
Bizen ware
H x Diam (overall): 51 x 37.7 cm (20 1/16 x 14 13/16 in)
Japan, Okayama prefecture, Imbe, Bizen kilns
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by the Friends of Asian Arts
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Jar (tsubo)

Bizen ware, Japan, Muromachi period (1333 - 1573), stoneware, WWII-era provenance

To 1998
Harry and Hideo G. Packard, Kyoto, purchased from an unidentified owner, to 1998 [1]

From 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hideo G. Packard in 1998


[1] According to Curatorial Note 6 in the object record.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Hideo G. Packard
Harry Packard


Sturdy unglazed jars made in Bizen province (modern Okayama prefecture) had long been used in kitchens and storerooms. With the emerging popularity of the ritualized form of tea preparation called chanoyu, Bizen jars also came to the attention of urban connoisseurs, who used them to store tea. They also discerned—in the mottled coloration of the unglazed surface and the random deposits of wood ash—an austere beauty that they described as the jar’s “landscape.” This perception of the “landscapes” on jars from Bizen, as well as from Shigaraki, forms the first recorded aesthetic appreciation of unglazed stoneware, a preference
that has remained central to Japanese taste in ceramics.

Published References
  • History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000. .
  • 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. 280-281.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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