Tea caddy in style of Zhangzhou ware

Artist: Attributed to Kashu Mimpei (1796-1871)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, mid 19th century
Stoneware with iron and cobalt pigments and white slip under colorless glaze; ivory lid
Mimpei ware
H x Diam: 7.8 × 8.1 cm (3 1/16 × 3 3/16 in)
Japan, Hyogo prefecture, Awaji island
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Tea caddy (chaire)

Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, Mimpei ware, stoneware, tea

To 1899
Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1899 [1]

From 1899 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkio Matsuki in 1899 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 718, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Bunkio Matsuki (C.L. Freer source) 1867-1940


A bushy-tailed mythical beast, flaming clouds, and plants, framed by dotted borders, comprise the Chinese-style decoration on this jar. The motifs are derived from cobalt-decorated porcelain jars and bowls made at southern Chinese kilns in Fujian province in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that became popular chanoyu utensils in Japan. The Mimpei pottery, a small-scale workshop operated by the cultivated son of a village headman, produced interpretations of various Chinese and Japanese ceramic wares. On this tea caddy, iron rather than cobalt pigment was used to paint the motifs, while cobalt dissolved in the glaze veils the entire piece with a blue tone.

Published References
  • Warren E. Cox. The Book of Pottery and Porcelain. 2 vols., New York. vol. 1: p. 242, pl. 75.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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