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
Square dish with bird design, from the Mino region of Gifu Prefecture. Characteristic Ao-Oribe style ware, with brush decoration done in iron oxide under white glaze, with copper green glaze. Museum Purchase B67P8
Porcelain box with underglaze cobalt and overglaze enamel decoration. (Gift of William Vredenburg, 1991.102.a-.c )
Two tea bowls sitting on tatami mats in a room at Korin-in, a sub-temple in the great complex at Daitokuji, Kyoto.
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."
A large storage jar in the characteristic Shigaraki form. Produced with the coil and throw technique, as can be seen on the right side profile of the piece. Typical rough Shigaraki clay with bits of feldspathic rock in it, which fused in the kiln to create the smooth white bits of "glass" in the the surface of the piece. The surface shows a slight gloss, the result of "natural glaze" from the firing, as wood ash from the kiln fire would combine with silica in the clay of the piece to form a silicate compound, a natural glass.
Porcelain jar with underglaze cobalt decoration, wisteria design. Imari-type Arita ware. (The Avery Brundage Collection, B67P7)
Porcelain jar with bird design painted in underglaze cobalt. Kakiemon-type Arita ware. (The Avery Brundage Collection, B64P37)
Raku ware tea bowl ("Chawan") named "Summer Festival Music." The bowl is attributed to Raku Sonyu (1664-1716), the fifth generation of the Kyoto Raku family of potters. A study in understatement, note the gentle undulation of the rim of the bowl and the slight convexity of the contour of the side of the bowl, almost inviting one's hand to fit it. The surface of the piece is typical of the black raku glaze, with a soft, slightly lustrous quality and a slightly pitted surface, giving it a highly tactile quality and one that almost resembles that of a river-worn rock, calling to mind the stricture that a good ceramic piece should be like an object found in nature, rather than an object deliberately made.
Sake bottle by Fujiwara Yu (1932-2001), a modern potter in Okayama, Bizen. The piece is perhaps 6 inches tall, made of unglazed stoneware. In the lower right, we see a suggestion of uncovered clay, the dense dark iron red that characterizes much Bizen ware. The rest of piece is heavily covered with deposits of ash from the firing and the crustiness of the surface suggests that perhaps the piece was in a part of the kiln where it was completely buried in charcoal during the firing. On loan from an anonymous collector, R2002.51.1
This large dish with plant design is an example of the type of Shino known as E-Shino, Pictured Shino. E-Shino pieces feature brush decoration applied to the piece before it is covered with the Shino glaze. The Shino glaze is composed almost entirely of one particular feldspathic rock and produced a great variety of surfaces, depending on how thickly the glaze was applied, the temperature reached in the kiln, and the atmosphere of the kiln (how smoky the fire was during critical phases of the firing). Zoom in on this image to see how lush the Shino surface was on many pieces.
Another view of the Oribe dish shown in image ecasia000370, showing more clearly the interior of the piece.
Porcelain lidded jar with overglaze enamel decoration. Kakiemon-type Arita ware from Saga Prefecture, Kyushu. (Avery Brundage Collection, B60P1206 )
Shino-ware was associated with kilns of the Mino district, near Tajimi in Gifu prefecture, central Honshu, north of Nagoya and Seto. Shino-ware is characterized by its glaze, which is known simply as Shino. It is usually a thick white glaze with a soft lustrous surface, neither matte nor glossy, and a surprising sense of tactile softness to the touch. Often, on the rim or other ridges of a form, the color will break to a warm orangish color, hinting at a sense of the clay body under the glaze (or it may suggest other images, as with the rim of Mrs. Ota's tea bowl in the Kawabata novel, Thousand Cranes). It is a subtle and rich glaze, one much favored by masters of tea. Often, but not always, designs were painted on the surface of pieces before they were glazed. These patterns, painted with an iron slip or pigment, are partially obscured and softened by the glaze over them, creating both a quiet subtlety of design and a sense of depth to the glazed surface. -- An aside about this particular piece is the difference in color of the lid of the ewer and the body of the ewer, proper, suggesting that perhaps the pieces were fired apart from one another and that, even if they were immediately side by side in the kiln, the atmosphere in the kiln (the amount of smokiness or clarity of flame) was slightly different around each of the two pieces. A problem that will be recognized by all potters, today, just as then. -- Russell Tyson Purchase Fund Income, 1966.332
Food-serving dish with plant and half wheel design, from Mino region of Gifu Prefecture. Simple wheel thrown form squared off while still in wet state. Museum label describes the piece, technically, as stoneware with inlaid slip. Perhaps the decoration was achieved by coating the entire surface with a dark slip (liquid clay) and then cutting the design through the slip coating to reveal the lighter colored clay of the piece, itself, under the slip. Museum purchase, B76P2
This Fresh water jar ("mizusashi") is a tea ceremony vessel, an example of Iga ware, a style of vessel created in Mie Prefecture and valued highly by tea masters. Approximately 9 or 10 inch tall, wheel thrown using a light stoneware clay body, fired in a wood fueled kiln with resulting flashing coloration and some natural ash glaze deposits. The black lid of the jar is lacquer, rather than clay, as was frequently the case with tea vessels. The soft clay was manipulated, probably while the piece was still on the potter's wheel, deliberately deforming the piece slightly, which has the effect of emphasizing the soft, malleable nature of the material before it is fired.
Oribe ware square dish with a broad handle, from the Mino region of Gifu prefecture, in west cental Honshu, a major pottery region. Light stoneware, probably fired in a neutral atmosphere, iron oxide brushwork decoration under a light glaze, with two corners of the piece and the handle dipped in a copper green glaze, creating the characteristic Oribe glaze pattern. (The Avery Brundage Collection, B64P34)
Square bottle by Hamada Shoji. Made with slabs of clay using the press mold technique. Glazed with the material known as "Mashiko stone," a local material that, by itself, with nothing else added to it, forms a stoneware glaze. The glaze is a saturated iron oxide glaze with the orangish-red-brown color known as "Kaki," which means "persimmon." (Gift of Gaylord Hall and Roy Leeper, 2005.88)