late 1500s–early 1600s
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Stoneware with underglaze iron oxide slip decoration (Mino ware, Shino type)
Diameter: 19.6 cm (7 11/16 in.); Lid: 2.9 x 14.7 cm (1 1/8 x 5 13/16 in.); Container: 18.4 cm (7 1/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1972.9.a
The water this container held during a tea ceremony was used to fill the kama, or iron pot in which the water is heated.
Mizusashi are jars used to hold water for the preparation of tea at tea gatherings. This one was produced in the Mino area of present-day Gifu prefecture in central Japan, and is considered one of the finest of its type in existence, based on the complex aesthetic sensibilities developed around the tea ceremony in Japan. It is called a “picture Shino” (e-shino) mizusashi, as it has an abstracted design said to resemble an ink painting of reeds along a river bank and small boats in a river on one side, and a geometric pattern on the other. With its irregular shape and thick, luminous glaze, it is of a variety favored by eminent tea masters of the Momoyama period.
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