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Tea Ceremony Fresh Water Jar (Mizusashi)

Asian Art

The brief Momoyama period (1573–1615) was a golden age for ceramic innovation in Japan, as potters responded to a surge in demand for tea wares. The mizusashi, a lidded pot containing clean water for making tea and rinsing cups, is the first vessel to be brought into the place where a tea ceremony is being held, and as such it attracts a great deal of attention from participants. Some mizusashi have ceramic lids while others have lacquered wood lids, as was likely the case with this object. The light-green coating of natural ash glaze, small scorch marks, and prominent “ear” handles of this piece typify tea wares made at the kilns of Iga, a mountainous area southeast of Kyōto.
MEDIUM Stoneware with ash glaze; Iga ware Lid in lacquered wood
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES late 16th–early 17th century
    PERIOD Momoyama Period to Edo Period
    DIMENSIONS 4 1/8 x 6 1/2 in. (10.5 x 16.5 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS Inscription on storage box lid refers to the piece as an early Shigaraki waste water jar. Paper label on side of box refers to it as an Iga Mukogire Mizusashi.
    ACCESSION NUMBER 80.42.2a-b
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Kahn
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Tea Ceremony Fresh Water Jar (Mizusashi), late 16th–early 17th century. Stoneware with ash glaze; Iga ware Lid in lacquered wood, 4 1/8 x 6 1/2 in. (10.5 x 16.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Kahn, 80.42.2a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 80.42.2_view1_PS11.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 80.42.2_view1_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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