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Two Mukozuke Dishes

Late 16th-early 17th century

Japan, Saga and Nagasaki Prefectures

Stoneware painted with underglaze iron brown (Karatsu ware)

Each, H. 4 1/4 x W. 2 1/4 x D. 2 1/4 in. (10.8 x 5.7 x 5.7 cm)

Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.229.1-2

Licensing inquiries

These small bowls, or mukozuke, were probably part of an original set of five or more and were meant to hold the accompaniment to rice and soup on an individual diner's tray, often during the kaiseki meal of the tea ceremony. Reedlike bamboo and flowing water plantain decorate opposite sides of the bowls, outlined in brown iron pigment under a thin layer of semi-opaque glaze. Such painted Karatsu ware has been excavated from Momoyama-period kiln sites in the Imari region of northern Kyushu. Karatsu ware owes parts of its technological advances and stylistic repertoire to immigrant Korean potters, but, as evidenced by these two bowls, some Karatsu decorative schemes seem to be based on other domestic ceramic traditions, primarily Mino ware.