Incense Container with Pine Motif

  • Kyoto
  • Edo period
  • 18-19c
  • Kenzan ware, underglaze iron brown
  • H-4.6 D-6
Catalogue Entry

Edo period, 18th to 19th centuries
Kenzan ware, underglaze iron brown
Height, 4.6cm; diameter, 6.3cm

Using a rounded chisel tool, the top of the lid was carved with one band of incised line, while the interior of the lid was banded with 5 incised lines. While this does not have a formed, rounded shape, planing marks can be discerned from the side to the hips and indicate that the work was wheel-thrown.

Half of the container, extending from lid to body, has been brushed in a white slip, and the exterior of the lid has been decorated with 4 pine trees brushed in underglaze iron. A small amount of green color effect can be discerned on the needle portions of the pine trees. If this is considered in accordance with the fact that Kenzan ware was generally fired at a relatively low temperature, it would be hard to imagine that this green developed from the iron under-glaze; thus it should be considered to be an example of underglaze painting in a different type of pigment. A transparent glaze has been applied on top of the underglaze, but the bottom has been left unglazed, and the interior has only been coated with a white slip, without a covering glaze.

The bottom of the foot is inscribed "Kenzan" in iron underglaze, but as the calligraphy style is hard to place within the period transitions seen in Kenzan signatures, it is extremely difficult to determine a date of production for this work. YO