Vase with Blossoming Plum and Short Poem

Makuzu Kōzanca. 1904 (Meiji)

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

Around the year 950, the emperor received an anonymous poem that made him change his mind about removing an ancient plum tree that had recently died: "Since my lord commands, what can I do but obey; but the nightingales, when they ask about their nests-- whatever can I tell them?" The character for "nightingale" is perched upon the branch; amazingly, it (and the other characters) consists of clay, inserted into the cut-out wall of the vessel.


  • Title: Vase with Blossoming Plum and Short Poem
  • Date Created: ca. 1904 (Meiji)
  • Physical Dimensions: h31 cm
  • Type: vases
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, 1904, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: porcelain with underglaze blue, pink, and yellow
  • Provenance: Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis; Henry Walters, Baltimore, December, 1904, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Origin: Yokohama, Japan
  • Inscriptions: [Poem Transcription] Choku nareba itomo kashikoshi uguisu no yado wa to towaba ikaga kotaemu / Ki no Tsurayuki onna; [Poem Translation] Since my Lord commands, what can one do but obey? But the nightingales, when they ask about their nests- whatever can I tell them? (Poem written by Ki no Naishi, the daughter of the famous Heian-period poet Ki no Tsurayuki (ca.872-945)); [Seal] Xuande [Hsuan-te]; [Transcription] Makuzu gama Kozan sei; [Translation] Made by Kozan, Makuzu kiln; [Sticker] Japanese export sticker 1904
  • ExhibitionHistory: Master Potters of Japan. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984; Bridging East and West: Japanese Ceramics from the Kozan Studio. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1994-1995; Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at World's Fairs, 1851-1939. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans; Mint Museum of Art Randoplh, Charlotte; Mint Museum of Art Uptown, Charlotte. 2012-2014
  • Artist: Miyagawa Kozan

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