A rare, well documented collaboration work (gassaku) by three of the most important Japanese artists of the late 19th century. The ceramic lidded jar was made by Kyōto potter Kiyomizu Rokubei III (1820-1883) of grey stoneware and was then loosely glazed with a white slip on which Tomioka Tessai (1837-1924) painted chrysanthemum flowers in iron brown. Finallly, Ōtagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875) inscribed the lid with one of her poems:
In the palms of my hands
Waiting for Eons to pass…
I hear drinking this
Will make me younger—
The chrysanthemums’ hanging dew.
Rengetsu signed the poem with her age of 75 and Tessai’s box inscription tells us the year 1867. The beautiful poem, which was later officially published in Rengetsu’s anthology Ama no karumo in 1870, indicates the function of the jar: It was used as freshwater container for the tea ceremony, giving the poetic impression that it was filled with the fresh dew from chrysanthemum flowers.
Murakami Sodō: Rengetsu-ni zenshū, 1980, p. 26.