Fresh Water Jar

Fresh Water Jar
Height 10.0 cm, mouth diameter 19.2 cm; China, Ming dynasty, 16th century; Gift of the Ii Family

This is a cloisonné bowl made in Ming China that was repurposed in Japan as a fresh water jar (mizusashi) for use in chanoyu by fitting it with a black-lacquered lid. Cloisonné is the technique of decorating metal vessels with designs of colored enamel baked onto the surface, in this case with the designs enclosed with copper wire. The somewhat unsophisticated technique and lively coloring of the piece, apparently made at a private kiln in China, attracted tea masters in Japan. The bowl has designs of fish, waves, and flowering trees on the outside, and a peony scrolling pattern with fish amid waves on the inside.

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