Large Shigaraki storage vessel in very good condition. Over a bright orange body, a large area of melted green ash glaze is scattered across the surface and runs in long streams down to the
bottom. On the side, the ash glaze concentrates into a single drop of glaze, a coveted detail that only occurs on pieces that were placed at the front of the kiln chamber, close to the
The Shigaraki region is a mountainous area in present-day Shiga Prefecture, southeast of Kyoto. The Shigaraki kilns were popularized by the Kyoto tea masters in the 16th century. Before their promotion, they mainly produced simple everyday ware for local people, merchants, and institutions.
Large jars like this one were made primarily for storage, such as food or seeds, but were also used in religious Buddhist rituals. Because of their enormous weight, these jars were built in several rounds, with the clay allowed to dry in between to gain stability for the next layer of clay. This construction process resulted in the irregular, asymmetrical shape with visible horizontal lines on the wall of the vessel.
The carefree, almost expressive appearance of the jar is one of the key secrets of its timeless beauty, which still appeals to the modern eye.