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profile: Karatsu ware ewer or freshwater jar

Karatsu ware ewer or freshwater jar

Historical period(s)
Momoyama period, 1596-1615
Stoneware with iron and rice-straw ash glazes; lacquered wooden lid
Karatsu ware, Chosen Karatsu type
H x W x D: 17.2 x 24.6 x 14.2 cm (6 3/4 x 9 11/16 x 5 9/16 in)
Japan, Saga prefecture
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
This vessel combines a body shaped by coiling, then finishing with paddle and anvil, with a hand-formed spout and handle. The technique was introduced to Japan by immigrant Korean potters and used for utilitarian vessel shapes. The two-color glaze combination, associated with a type of Karatsu ware known as "Korean Karatsu," is found on early Agano and Takatori wares as well.

To 1898
Yamanaka & Company, to 1898 [1]

From 1898 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company in 1898 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 177, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. The majority of Charles Lang Freer’s purchases from Yamanaka & Company were made at its New York branch. Yamanaka & Company maintained branch offices, at various times, in Boston, Chicago, London, Peking, Shanghai, Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. During the summer, the company also maintained seasonal locations in Newport, Bar Harbor, and Atlantic City.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Former owner
Yamanaka and Co. (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel
Japan, Karatsu ware, Momoyama period (1573 - 1615), stoneware
Collection(s) Area
Japanese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.