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  • Thumbnail for Japanese ceramics:  Tea leaf storage jar, Bizen ware.
    Japanese ceramics: Tea leaf storage jar, Bizen ware. by unknown

    Tea leaf storage jar, of modest size (perhaps 12" tall) but strongly articulated as a form. Unglazed stoneware with strong fire markings, characteristic of Bizen ware. Rice straw soaked in sea water salt brine was draped across the form as it was placed in the kiln; at the peak temperatures of the firing, the salt brine would volatilize and combine with the silica in the clay to form an "accidental" natural glaze. This procedure probably was followed initially as a means to keep pieces from fusing to one another in the firing, by separating them with high silica content rice straw, but with the discovery of the result of soaking the straw in brine, it became a frequent decorative technique on Bizen ware. Museum Purchase B67P10