The Bizen kilns near the town of Imbe in Okayama prefecture are known to have been active since the thirteenth century. Like the Shigaraki kilns, they produced a variety of utilitarian vessels until the sixteenth century when Bizen wares attracted the attention of tea masters who began to order vessels specifically for use in the tea ceremony. A mizusashi holds the fresh water required at different points in the tea ceremony. The sturdy shape and warm, natural finish of this jar are typical of Bizen wares, which are made of a dense, fine-grained clay that fires to a deep reddish brown. Bizen wares are usually unglazed, and the random spots of yellow glaze on this vessel were produced by kiln ash that fell on the pot and fused during firing.