Oribe-ware Ewer, from the early 17th century in Japan, Momoyama Period. The piece is high-fired stoneware, a buff colored body, probably fired in a neutral or oxidizing atmosphere, with the typical Oribe glaze combination of white glaze and a copper green poured on parts of the piece. There is pattern, design, painted on the piece, again, typical of Oribe style wares. The design was painted on the piece with an iron pigment or slip, probably painted on the piece prior to the glaze application. The resulting all-over surface decoration is typical of the exuberant energy of Momoyama art and culture. -- Gift of Robert Allerton, 1959.5 -- This piece was one of ten ceramic pieces in a special exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, East Asian Ceramics: Then and Now, held July 2 - November 6, 2005. The exhibit was curated by Janice Katz, assistant curator of Japanese Art, and Jay Xu, Pritzker Curator of Asian Art. An overview of the exhibition states, "Contemporary ceramic artists in East Asia continually draw upon their cultures' highly developed traditions. An artist may use a glaze that became popular centuries earlier or experiment with a traditional glaze by changing the resulting color. Contemporary artists also quote wares of the past through form and technique. In this exhibition featuring works from China, Korea, and Japan, pairs of contemporary and premodern objects are on display. In each case, the artist of the contemporary piece consciously adopts aspects of the earlier ware while creating a thoroughly modern work of art."
This is a contemporary ceramic object with a fluid green glaze that pools and catches on the texture of the surface, creating a strongly accented surface that is related directly to form and the process by which the piece was formed. The color, the "accidental" flow of the glaze across the heavily textured surface, the white glaze that is said to cover the inside of the piece, and the casual irregularity of the form, are all references to the style of historic Oribe-ware. -- Roger L. Watson and Margaret Dornbusch funds, 2005.52 -- [A parenthetic observation: photographs and images of works of art can be very misleading. This box, in fact, is perhaps 6 or 7 inches long, yet, in this image, it could easily be mistaken as being a much larger sculptural object. Without something to indicate scale, it may be very difficult to judge the actual size of an art object from an image of the object.]