Nabeshima ware dish with design of reeds in mist, seven-sun size

Clay: porcelain.
Glaze: partial celadon.
Decoration: design of reeds in underglaze.

… Read More

Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1700-1740
Porcelain with cobalt pigment under colorless glaze, celadon glaze, and iron pigment on unglazed clay
Arita ware, Nabeshima type
H x W: 5.7 x 20.3 cm (2 1/4 x 8 in)
Japan, Saga prefecture, Imari, Okawachi kiln
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


Arita ware, Nabeshima type, Edo period (1615 - 1868), green glaze, Japan, Nabeshima ware, porcelain

To 1964
N.V. Hammer, Inc., New York. [1]

From 1964
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from N.V. Hammer, Inc., New York. [2]


[1] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

N.V. Hammer, Inc.


Clay: porcelain.
Glaze: partial celadon.
Decoration: design of reeds in underglaze.


Nabeshima ware was produced at a carefully managed workshop for the exclusive use of the Nabeshima lords, rulers of the domain within which the Arita kilns lay. The most characteristic products were sets of dishes of standard sizes, decorated with exquisite and technically demanding decoration. This dish is an example of the seven-sun size.

The autumnal motif of withered reeds enveloped by mist is rendered with realism unusual in a Nabeshima design, wherein natural motifs are usually abstractly composed. Iron pigment applied directly to the roughened clay surface conveys the brittleness of the dried leaves, while the use of both cobalt wash and a band of celadon suggests the depth of the mist. 

Published References
  • Jayne Shatz. Japanese Overglaze Enameled Porcelains:The Journey from Tradition to a Contemporary Palette. .
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 67.
  • Louise Allison Cort. The Artist in Edo. Washington. p. 14, figs. 1-2.
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. p. 160.
  • Constance Bond. Daimyo's Choice at the Freer. Washington, April 1986. p. 162.
  • Nabeshima Naoyasu. Nabeshima han'yo no kenkyu [Study of Nabeshima House's Ceramic Ware Factory and Its Products from 1614 to the Present]. Kyoto. p. 203.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.