Condition: Excellent

Japanese Stoneware Storage Jar | Karatsu Ware | Early 19th/Century | Late Edo | Impressed Mark

This is a storage jar, most likely for tea. The brown stoneware body is wrinkled and irregular, and the neck is formed and shaped by hand, as well as the beautifully proportioned ears. The body has a transparent glaze, allowing one to experience the texture throughout the jar. The varied mustard green coloration and surfacing of iron elements in the clay during firing adds further interest. There is incising throughout the surface of the clay of an undetermined design, giving the jar a visual vitality, and emphasizing the sensual and tactile aspects inherent in the jar. On the front portion of the neck, and flowing over one shoulder, is a thick splash of a translucent glaze, utilizing a mix of white, green and brown pigments, creating a contrasting, vitrified, glass-like surface compared to the rough body. An impressed seal mark in the shape of a double gourd is on the bottom edge. Our understanding is that the piece is Karatsu ware, based on the style of pottery, and the impressed stamp by the maker. Dimensions: 7-1/8”h x 7-1/4”dia.

Additional Information —
Karatsu ware is made in the town of the same name within the Saga Prefecture. Karatsu is well known for its under-glazed iron pottery which is strongly influenced by Korean craftsmen. The majority of Karatsu ware have been made in Anagama, (wood-fired), kilns. Although many pieces are unsigned, a number of craftsmen and independent potters have an identifiable stamp that marks the works as theirs. Sometimes these marks are very difficult to differentiate within generations of family artists, not to mention age and artistic styling of the kanji.

Japanese ceramic ware of Korean origin was produced in Japan’s southern island of Kyushu. The actual date of production is thought to be sometime during the first half of the 16th century, in the late Muromachi period. The development of Karatsu ware was fosterd by the adoption of entirely new techniques brought from Korea after two invasions of that country carried out during the closing years of the 16th century. With Korean potters being brought to southern Japan as a result of the occupations, the earliest Karatsu ceramics show strong influences of Korean style and workmanship. Behind much of this development lay the popularity of the tea ceremony, which was sweeping Japan at the time. The Korean-style Karatsu wares were felt to be quite appropriate to the wabi-cha approach to formal tea drinking.

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