Gourd-shaped Tea Cabby

  • Bizen kiln, Okayama pref.
  • Momoyama period
  • 16th-17th century
  • Bizen ware, stoneware
  • H-10.4 D-7
    Miho Museum   Formerly in the collection of Hirase Rokou
Catalogue Entry

Momoyama period, 16th century
Bizen ware, stoneware
Height, 10.4cm; mouth diameter, 2.5cm;
torso diameter, 6.5cm

This small, gourd-shaped jar has a strongly constrained torso area and is redolent with the Momoyama period's humorous taste. The firing was also relatively gentle, producing a splendidly fresh surface texture which can be said to reflect the most desirable firing results of the old Bizen wares. There are several other extant works which resemble this tea container, and some of these extant works have been traditionally used as tea containers, while others have been used as furidashi sweets containers. Thus, while it is not certain whether this type of vessel was originally used as a tea container, there are later examples of gourd-shaped tea containers from other kilns, and this work can be said to have a vessel shape and measurements that are completely appropriate for use as a tea container. The torso area is carved with narrow, vertical spatula marks, while the edge of the torso and the shoulders have been decorated with surface-carving spatula work. These elements all make this a particularly superb work. Today this work is accompanied by 2 shifuku bags and is thus configured as a tea container. TA