Ko-Aokaratsu Tea Caddy

Late Momoyama or early Edo Period, around 1600

Inv. Nr. #22.002
Date Late Momoyama or early Edo period, around 1600
Material Glazed stoneware, gold repair
Dimensions H 6,8 x Diam. 6,6 cm

Comes with old, original silk pouch and storage box.

A very rare, green Karatsu tea caddy. The elegantly shaped body has distinct shoulders, an elaborately soft thrown lip, and rests on a narrowing flat foot ring. While the overall shape of the tea caddy was created following a classic Chinese model, the mouth is rather wider than usually for this particular type.


What makes the tea caddy extremely rare, however, is the jade-green glaze that possibly tries to imitate Korean celadon ware. The glaze is generally opaque but shows a transluminescent ring on the vessel's neck. It covers the body almost completely and leaves a ring of bare clay at the foot, which gives the sight free on the dark brown, coarse shard.


The glaze features a beautiful craquelé of thin brown lines documenting the age the object. The foot is finely thrown in the typical manner of Karatsu tea ware, where the small ring resembles the crescent moon. The inside part shows a spiral form from the trimming and a large area of radially arranged tiny cracks on the clay's surface.


There are a few 'accidental' flaws in the glaze. The mouth has a very old, small gold repair. The tea caddy comes with old silk pouch (shifuku) and an old beautiful wooden box.


It is an extremely rare, early work of Japanese ceramics from the golden age, that is infused by both, the demanding taste for a classical Chinese object and the Japanese appreciating of the imperfect. It is a perfect example for the parting of the Japanese taste for tea ware from Chinese models towards a more native, national aesthetic in the late 16th century.