Blue-and-white brush holder with human figures and pine tree

Accession Number

Blue-and-white brush holder with human figures and pine tree


Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
18th century

Medium & Support
porcelain with blue underglaze painting

4 13/16 in x 4 3/16 in x 4 3/16 in (12.2 cm x 10.6 cm x 10.6 cm);4 13/16 in x 4 3/16 in x 4 3/16 in (12.2 cm x 10.6 cm x 10.6 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy
The Matsuura clan in Hirado commissioned high-quality porcelains for use as gifts for Tokugawa shogun and other daimyos. The Matsuura family’s deep involvement in arts and culture included aesthetic influence over the Hirado wares made for the tea ceremony, the essential cultural pursuit for samurai. Subject matter, such as landscapes and Chinese figures, was often modeled after that of the official Kano school of painting.
(Label for UMMA Japanese Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)

Subject matter
This hexagonal pot is used for holding brushes, important instruments for literati activities. Brush holders are often depicted in scholar's studios in East Asian literati painting. The design of dancers and musicians, combined with a pine tree, should convey festive and auspicious mood.

Physical Description
A hexagonal container of white porcelain. Each of six rectangular panels has delicate rendering of figures or plants with blue underglaze. On one panel there is a male figure dancing and playing a drum. On another panel, dancing male figure appears as well. Next to the drumming figure, a pine tree is drawn.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
brush holder

Additional Object Classification(s)
Decorative Arts

Collection Area

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drums (membranophones)

1 Related Resource

Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

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