Important Cultural PropertyWater jug with single-layered mouth, signed Shiba no Iori

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  • Shigaraki
  • 1 piece
  • H14.7 aperture D17.3 bottom D15.5
  • Azuchi-Momoyama period/16th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • G-5307
  • Donated by Hirota Matsushige

The first items that appeared on the center stage of tea ceremonies among Japanese ceramics were the non-glazed water jars of Shigaraki or Bizen. Non-glazed water jars in their infancy were produced not as utensils for the tea ceremony, but as containers for daily use, such as seed containers. Later they were incorporated into the tea ceremony as utensils.
It is said that this water jar was possessed by Sen Rikyu. In the bottom center, Konshin Sosa (1619-1972), the fourth master of Omotesenke, wrote "Shian (kao: designed character representing the signature)" in red lacquer, while on the back of the lid of a box for the jar, Joshinsai Sosa (1706-1751), the seventh master of Omote Senke, wrote "Shikaraki Water Jar written by Kososa/Shian Left (志からき水指 古宗左書付/柴庵 左) (kao)."
It is made of Shigaraki clay, which is rich in feldspar grains and there is a large vertical crack on the body, over which natural glaze is applied abundantly, creating a view in sharp contrast to the red, burnt inside surface. The slightly tight mouth suggests that this water jar has been created not for daily use, but specifically for the tea ceremony and that it was created during a transitional period from the Muromachi to Momoyama periods when molding was about to change drastically.

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