Jar; Hanging vase - 999.14.2.1_1


Jar; Hanging vase

Medium:Wheel-thrown stoneware with natural glaze and metal fittings
Geography: China; Japan
Date: early 14th century AD
Period: Yuan Dynasty (China)
24.8 x 16.8 cm
Object number: 999.14.2.1
Credit Line: The Yamagami Sōju (Akio, 1873-1957) Collection: Gift of Mrs. Yamagami and the Umezawa Family. Certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Attestė par la Commission canadienne d’examen des exportations de biens culturels en vertu de la Loi sur l’exportation et l’importation de biens culturels.
Not on view
DescriptionThis type of jar is called "Namban chimaki," meaning "the jar in the shape of chimaki rice dumpling made in southern China or Southeast Asia." Although it was not originally made for Japanese tea, its unpretentiousness and roughness in the shape and texture suited wabi tea practioners' taste, and was transformed into a hanging vase with the metal ring attached. This practice of transforming something else into tea utensils is common in chanoyu and regarded as a form of creativity. It is called "mitate," or a technique to see one thing not in the originally intended form but as another thing, widely seen in Japanese literature, poetry, theatre, and visual arts. This particular jar bears an inscription of "mei" or "nickname of the object" - "Warai-jō" or "Smiling old man" - in red lacquer below the metal ring, together with the cipher of Chōshō Sōshu (12h generation of grand master of Mushanokōji Tea School). As a common practice in chanoyu, "mei" is named by the maker or one of the successive owners, often with a reference to ancient poems or other forms of art - in this case, "Warai-jō" refers to a type of masks used in the noh theatre. As shown here, the "mei" adds a poetic imagination to the appreciation of the utensil.
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