Incense case in a shape of biwa (Japanese lute)

Unknown19th century, Edo period

Tachibana Museum

Tachibana Museum
Fukuoka-ken, Japan

This neat little incense case is formed in the shape of ‘biwa’, a type of Japanese lute. It is a fine-grained white pottery, on which the strings are painted with iron pigment, and carefully covered with glaze. The glaze is finely cracked all over the surface, which gives additional charm to the piece.
This refined piece is Kenjo Karatsu ware, which was produced in the 19th century from the official kiln of the Karatsu domain as a gift to the Tokugawa Shogun family. It has a different attractiveness from the 17th-century old Karatsu ware with a rough and simple taste.


  • Title: Incense case in a shape of biwa (Japanese lute)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 19th century, Edo period
  • Location Created: Karatsu, Japan
  • Physical Dimensions: L: 7.6 cm; W: 4.4 cm; H: 2.8 cm; Dia: 2.7 x 3.1 cm (mouth), 2.1 x 2.6 cm (base)
  • Type: Ceramic

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