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UMMA Object Specific Fields

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Seto ware mizusashi (water jar)

Accession Number

Seto ware mizusashi (water jar)


Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
19th century

Medium & Support
stoneware with mottled brown and yellow glaze

6 7/16 in x 7 1/16 in (16.4 cm x 18 cm);6 7/16 in (16.4 cm)

Credit Line
Transfer from the School of Art and the College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Label copy
A mizusashi is a container for the fresh cold water that is used to replenish a kettle during the practice of wabi tea, which finds elegance in rusticity. Along with a tea bowl and a tea container, a mizusashi has been an important tea implement since the time of wabi tea pioneers in the sixteenth century. UMMA has a remarkable collection of mizusashi dating from the mid-Edo period to the contemporary period, and many were made by master potters in important tea ware kilns such as Raku, Seto, and Hirado. 
The small red container was made by Raku Keinyû, who was in the eleventh generation of the Raku family lineage founded by Raku Chôjirô (d. 1589), a Chinese immigrant potter who collaborated with influential tea master Sen no Rikyû (1522–1591). This Raku mizusashi is hand-built rather than wheel-thrown, and roughly chiseled using bamboo tools. The resulting irregularity is the epitome of the rustic wabi tea aesthetic. Such wares were often collected and used alongside porcelain wares, such as Hirado ware, a smooth, painted ware commonly given as gifts to the ruling Tokugawa shogunate (military government) and daimyos (feudal lords). The contrast between these two types of wares was highly valued in the wabi tea aesthetic. Two pieces highlight the peristance of these two types of tea wares. The Meiji period virtuoso potter Seifû Yohei III’s elegant mizusashi is decorated with fine bamboo stalks made by incising the outlines of the bamboo in leather-hard clay, and then filling them with a white slip. Nakazato Takashi’s footed water jar, with its squat, bottom heavy form, floppylooking protruding handles, and thickly rimmed lid, pays homage to Momoyama period (1583–1615) models. But while Karatsu ware is normally evenly glazed, Nakazato has allowed the ash glaze to puddle and form brown streaks.

; Label copy
Seto ware mizusashi (water jar)
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868)
19th century
Stoneware with mottled brown and yellow glaze
Transfer from the School of Art and the College of Architecture and Urban
Planning, 1997/1.188A&B

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
water jar

Collection Area

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stoneware (pottery)
tea ceremonies

& Author Notes

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