Water Jar (Mizusashi) with Pine Trees

Artist: Attributed to Ogata Kenzan (Japanese, 1663–1743)

Period: Edo period (1615–1868)

Date: ca. 1720

Culture: Japan

Medium: Stoneware with underglaze iron oxide; lacquer cover

Dimensions: H. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm); Diam. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 29.100.614a, b


This mizusashi is a container that would have been used in the tea ceremony to hold fresh water to rinse the tea bowls or fill the kettle. The potter coated the dark clay ground of this jar in a white slip, providing a light background for painting. The trunks of the stylized pine trees were painted in almost calligraphic strokes, while the leafy tops seem almost like puffs of clouds.
The style is that of Ogata Kenzan (1663–1743), though this jar was probably produced by one of his followers. Kenzan was an amateur painter and potter active in the Edo period, and was known for his painterly, decorative wares.