Mizusashi (water jar)

Probably from the Imbe district, Bizen Province, Japan
Edo period, 17th century AD

High-fired pottery with ash glaze and lacquered wooden lid

The kilns of Bizen had been established in the Middle Ages. One type of pottery produced was very practical, and favoured by Teamasters for Tea Ceremony wares. It was almost metallically hard and highly glazed , often with interesting natural glaze effects, produced by the ash in the kiln. The Bizen potters produced many fine large pieces, which were particularly suitable for use as jars, carrying water to the hearth of the tea-room. The wide mouth was necessary so that water could be ladled into the metal kettle.

This piece is almost sculptural in its effect; the surface is enlivened with random slashes cut into the clay. The hollow cylindrical handles would allow it to be hung by cords.

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More information


L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)


Diameter: 232.000 cm

Museum number

Asia JA F1891


From the collection of the late 19th-century dealer and pottery specialist Noritani Ninagawa
Gift of Sir A.W. Franks


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