Shinnari Kettle with Plum and Bamboo Rondel Designs on Hailstone Ground

  • Ashiya, Fukuoka pref.
  • Muromachi period, 15th century
  • 16th century
  • Cast iron
  • H-20.8 D-26.8
    Transmitted by the Matsudaira clan (ex-owned by Fumai Harusato)
Catalogue Entry

Muromachi period, 16th century
Ashiya, cast iron
Height, 20.8cm; torso diameter, 26.8cm

This kettle is a typical Ashiya-forge, shin-shaped kettle with a reel-shaped mouth,
demon mask-shaped handle lugs, and a lower flange. The somewhat pointed dots of the hail-stone ground extend from the mouth to the outer edge of the flange, and a band
motif circles the shoulder area. Circular framed areas of plain ground are placed on the
front and back of the torso surface, with one filled with a plum-tree motif and the other
with a bamboo pattern.

This circular framing of decorative motifs, or square frames as seen in the Pine and Plum Motif shin-shape Kettle inscribed with the date 1517 (Eisho 14) in the Nezu Institute of
Fine Arts, combined with an overall hailstone ground pattern, is one of the decorative
methods seen on Ashiya kettles. The arrangement of the plum tree's trunk, branches, and blossoms has become somewhat patterned and lost some of its sinuous flow due to the
constructions of the circular frame in combination with the strong swell of the shoulder
and the subtle banding of the swell of the body of the kettle at the handle lug height. All
indicate a date close to that of the 1517-inscribed kettle, i.e. a late Muromachi period
construction. This kettle was traditionally held by the Matsudaira family, lords of the Izumo-Matsue castle, and the black ink box inscription in the distinctive reisho-style script of
Matsudaira Fumai Harusato, the late Edo period clan lord and tea master, indicates that
this kettle was in Fumai's collection. KH