Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Water Jar (Mizusashi) with Stylized Waves

Nakamura Takuo (Japanese, born 1945)
Heisei period (1989–present)
Stoneware with gold and silver inlays; lacquered-wood lid
H. 5 in. (12.7 cm); W. 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm); D. 8 1/4 in. (20.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Barbara and William Karatz Gift, 2001
Accession Number:
2001.735a, b
Rights and Reproduction:
© Nakamura Takuo
Not on view
Water jars, such as this mizusashi, play a pivotal aesthetic role during tea ceremonies, for they are the first and last vessels to be brought into tearooms. Aware of the importance that water jars have long held in the ceremonial context of chanoyu, literally "hot water for tea," Nakamura Takuo produces traditional vessels that impart a new vitality.
Like Momoyama-period (1573–1615) precedents, this water jar exhibits an organic, misshapen form, but it has been molded freely into an unconventional rectangular shape. Nakamura seamlessly juxtaposes walls of roughly textured, glazed clay against sides that are inlaid with gold and silver and hark back to the brilliant wave patterns painted by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Rinpa artists. The smooth, lacquered auburn lid introduces yet another conspicuous element of contrast. Sculptural yet painterly, decorative but functional, this dynamic water jar continues the tradition even as it breaks from it.
Signature: [Incised in Chinese characters on bottom ] Baizan
[ Joan B. Mirviss Ltd. , New York, 2001; sold to MMA].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," 2002.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sense of Place: Landscape in Japanese Art," May 8, 2002–September 8, 2002.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Written Image: Japanese Calligraphy and Paintings from the Sylvan Barnet and William Burto Collection," October 1, 2002–March 2, 2003.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Flowing Streams: Scenes from Japanese Arts and Life," December 21, 2006–June 3, 2007.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Summer and Autumn in Japanese Art," June 24, 2011–October 23, 2011.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art," May 26, 2012–January 13, 2013.

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