Bulbous Karatsu ware jar


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

Several styles of pottery and porcelain were introduced into the island of Kyūshū and south-western Honshū by immigrants from nearby Korea in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Much of the pottery was simple and unobtrusive, but it was particularly favoured by Teamasters. This crackled white-ware was one of the types made at the kilns of Karatsu to the north of the famous porcelain centre of Arita. Interesting glaze effects were produced by the near-random way in which it was dipped in the glaze, leaving an unglazed area on the base where it was held.

It is not quite clear what the function of this piece was, but it is likely that it was used as a kensui (slop-jar). It was certainly admired and loved, as witnessed by the gold and silver lacquer repairs to the rim.

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  • Title: Bulbous Karatsu ware jar
  • Date Created: 1600/1699
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 13.46cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: glazed; lacquered
  • Registration number: Franks.1804.+
  • Production place: Made in Karatsu-shi
  • Period/culture: Edo Period
  • Material: pottery; gold; silver; lacquer
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Franks, Augustus Wollaston