9 Items in this Learning Collection

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Tea container (natsume)

Accession Number

Tea container (natsume)

Tamura Isshū

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
lacquer and gold on wood

2 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (5.08 x 8.89 x 8.89 cm);1 x 3 3/8 x 3 3/8 in. (2.54 x 8.57 x 8.57 cm);2 1/8 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (5.4 x 8.89 x 8.89 cm);4 x 4 1/8 x 4 1/8 in. (10.16 x 10.48 x 10.48 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Director's Acquisition Committee, 2016

Label copy
Tamura Isshu ̄
Japan, born 1957
Tea container named Bamboo Grove
Heisei period (1989–present)
Late 20th century
Wood with black lacquer, gold, and silver
Museum purchase made possible by the Director’s
Acquisition Committee, 2016, 2016/1.261A&B

Matsuzaki Tohru
Japan, born 1944
Vermillion Lacquer Ridged Tray with Legs
Heisei period (1989–present)
Wood with black and red lacquer
Museum purchase made possible by the Director’s
Acquisition Committee, 2016, 2016/1.211

These two works present very different aesthetic
lineages in Japan: refinement and artless
simplicity. The container by Tamura Isshu ̄ is for
storing tea powder. On the lid, stylized gold leaves
suggest the thick foliage of a bamboo grove; the
silver stripes on the base of the container represent
bamboo trunks. For both, the artist uses the
Heian period (794–1185) technique of decorating
lacquerware with small gold or silver particles
(maki-e). The artist lives and works in Kanazawa,
a town known for this tradition of lacquerware.
In contrast, the tray by Matsuzaki Tohru has
a roughness that suggests the original function
of lacquering—making waterproof, heat-resistant
wares for everyday use. Like the lacquerware used
in Buddhist temples and monasteries since the
twelfth century, its beauty lies in the gradual
exposure of the base black lacquer under the red
lacquer coating over many years of use. Matsuzaki
creates wares by hollowing out a wood log and
layering the surface with black and red lacquer.

Physical Description
Cylindrical container with a detachable lid. The container and lid are painted black with black and gold bamboo designs on the exterior and gold splatters on the interior. 

Primary Object Classification
Decorative Arts

Primary Object Type
tea container

Collection Area

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& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved