This excellent tea caddy was made by Shigaraki master Ueda Naokata IV 上田直方 四代 (1898-1975) who was the first designated 'Intangible Cultural Property' of Shiga prefecture.
The octagonal shaped body made of sand-colored clay which turned red during firing, is covered by a heavy thick ash glaze that is partly crusted black and melted partly to an emerald green glaze. Especially on the shoulders the green glaze is glass-like and looks wonderful on the rocky surface.
This museums-quality object is in excellent conditions and stamped on the bottom side with the Naokata seal. It comes with a beautiful silk pouch and a double inscribed wooden box. The inscription on the outside is made by Naokata himself and reads: "Shigaraki old kiln, Naokata-made" (Shigaraki koyō Naokata zō 信楽古窯直方造). On the inside of the lid of the wooden box is an appraisal written by the 14th head (iemoto) of the Urasenke Tea Ceremony School Tantansai Sekisō 淡々斎碩叟 (1893-1964), just saying this item is a "Shigaraki chaire" and indicating it as a high-class item with his signature mark (kaō).
The Ueda family is along with the Takahashi family the oldest potter family in Shigaraki and largely responsible for preserving the old technique, especially after the second world war. The family has a long tradition as potters starting their business with Ueda Naokata I, who lived 1805-1891. Ueda Naokata IV succeeded his father the third Ueda in 1931.