Sanage ware ceremonial jar
From Sanage, Owari Province (modern Aichi
Heian period, 9th-10th century AD
High-fired pottery with a natural ash glaze
Sanage was one of the main centres for high-quality ceramic production in the Nara period (AD 710-94) and early Heian period (AD 794-1185). It is close to present-day Nagoya. Sanage wares continued the tradition of high-fired ceremonial Sue wares of the late Kofun period (sixth-seventh century AD), which were thrown on the wheel. The Sue potters recognized the decorative potential of the deposit of ash from the kiln on the body of the pots, producing natural glazes.
This jar was probably among the finest available at the time in Japan, when all-over Chinese-style glazing was rarely attempted. It was probably made for use in a temple, a shrine or at court. A chip out of the rim has been repaired with lacquer and this suggests that it was deliberately spoiled, perhaps to prevent its being stolen for later use as a funerary jar.
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)