Large Jar

Shigaraki ware



Artist Shigaraki ware
Period Nanbokucho period, 14th century
Materials and techniques Stoneware with natural glaze
Size H.57.5 MD.24.0 D.49.0 BD.17.3


Shigaraki-ware was produced on the edges of a small remote valley in an area around Shigaraki-cho of Koka County in Shiga Prefecture. Clay for Shigaraki-ware, dug from nearby granite mountains, included course grains of quartz and feldspar, and since they were able to withstand a high firing temperature, they did not altogether melt during the firing, often leaving little stones in the fired surface of the vessels. The most numerous of ko-Shigaraki (old Shigraki before Momoyama period) jars are
tane-tsubo (seed pots) like the one seen here. Compared to what is generally called “large jars”, it is a bit smaller in size, more the size of a cha-tsubo (tea jar). It was probably used to store grain seeds, such as rice and beans, until the following year. The jar was made in a technique unique to Shigaraki ware called dan-tsugi, in which coils of clay are built up in stages, creating ridges on the sides of the body, giving the jar a natural, spontaneous beauty. Since Shigaraki clay has little iron compared to other pottery of medieval Japan, the grayish-white clay body has been fired to a beautiful reddish-brown color, and feldspar grains embedded in the clay have melted and burst out onto the surface, making the jar look as if scattered with little white beads. The jar’s beauty is further enhanced by the natural glaze of a yellowish brown color running down from the shoulder to the base on the side of the jar facing the fire.