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Large Jar


Artist Tokoname ware
Period Heian period, 12th century
Materials and techniques Stoneware with natural glaze
Size H.33.2 MD.23.5 D.33.9 BD.12.8


Tokoname ware began to be produced in the latter Heian period in an area around Tokoname city on Chita Peninsula of Aichi Prefecture. The older wares up to the Kamakura period are called ko-Tokoname or old Tokoname, and consist mostly of jars and pots that have a charm quite different from that of sueki pottery, giving the viewers a feel of the history and culture of Japan. Shown here is one of the few extant ko-tokoname jars from the Heian period. The neck is made in the traditional
ko-tokoname manner and is quite short, from which the thin-lipped mouth flares out in an elegant curve in a style characteristic to the Heian period. While the jar swells broadly at the luting where the shoulder was joined to the body, the base is extremely small, and it is surmised that when used as a water or sake jar, the bottom portion was buried in the ground. The jar is built in the yoriko-zukuri technique, a traditional technique that was used when making large jars such as this one. Thick coils of fine-grained iron-rich clay were connected end to end as they were spiraled one on top of the other. When desired height was reached after five to seven layers, the form was then modeled by hand. This jar, which is rather thin-bodied for its large size, has been fired beautifully to a dark brown color, the natural glaze of yellow-green flowing over the shoulders adding a delightful flavor to the piece.

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