Takahashi Rakusai IV (*1925)

Large Shigaraki Mizusashi with Handles

Inv. Nr. #17.016
Date Late 20th C.
Material Ash glazed stoneware
Dimensions  H 23 x Diam. 22 cm

Comes with fitted signed and sealed wooden box.

Fantastic, large Shigaraki fresh water jar (mizusashi) in style of old Momoyama period (1573-1603) models. A cylindrical body rests on a bulky base with cracked fissures at the lower, outer wall's surface. Above two small handles to the left and right (mimitsuki) it finishes with a high lip between which the lid neatly fits. The unglazed stoneware body is made from sand-colored clay and is naturally ash glazed green and gray at the front. The bare parts turned red during the firing due to iron in the clay. As typical for Shigaraki clay it also contains a large amount of white flowering quartz crystals. Scratched lines, set freely in a playful manner by the potter on the vessel's surface, and the fact that the large jar rests on three feet, perfectly contrasts the piece's bold impression.


Takahashi Rakusai IV was born 1925 in Shigaraki and is probably the most famous Shigaraki potter. The Takahashi family is along with the Ueda family the oldest potter family in Shigaraki and largely responsible for preserving traditions, especially after the second world war. Takahashi Rakusai IV succeeded his father the third Takahashi – who was designated as "Intangible Cultural Property" by government – in 1976 and passed the tradition subsequently to his son in 2010.