Sanage ware ceremonial jar

From Sanage, Owari Province (modern Aichi prefecture), Japan
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.

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More information


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


Height: 24.600 cm

Museum number

Asia JA 1987.6.2.1



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