Kyoto ware covered three-tiered food box

Historical period(s)
Edo period, first half of 18th century
Stoneware with enamel decoration over colorless glaze; red lacquer additions
Kyoto ware, Ko-Kiyomizu style
H x W x D: 21.3 x 19.5 x 17 cm (8 3/8 x 7 11/16 x 6 11/16 in)
Japan, Kyoto prefecture, Kyoto
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Container

Nested food box (jubako)

bamboo, Edo period (1615 - 1868), flower, Japan, Kiyomizu ware, pine tree, stoneware

Yamada Takeji, Kobe, Japan [1]

To 1973
Mayuyama & Co., Ltd., Tokyo, to 1973

From 1973
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Mayuyama & Co., Ltd. in 1973


[1] The object was included in an exhibition of Yamada Takeji's collection, held at the Osaka Municipal Art Museum, the Tokugawa Art Museum, and the Nezu Art Museum in 1967, and in a publication, Shoki Kyoyaki, later translated as Masahiko Sato, Arts of Japan 2, Kyoto Ceramics (N.Y., Tokyo: Weatherhill/Shibundo, 1973). See Curatorial Note 15, Louise Cort, January 5 1998, in object record.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Mayuyama & Co., Ltd.
Yamada Takeji


Colored enamels and gold on the tiered food box represent pine, bamboo, and plum, the “three friends” of winter. These traditional auspicious designs are appropriate for this piece, which was used for serving cakes or snacks to guests on festive occasions such as the New Year. Autumnal motifs are especially suited to this decorative technique; the red and golden hues of foliage can be rendered in the most prevalent colors of traditional Japanese lacquer, which also creates a coating that protects against moisture, dust, and insects. The storage box once held a valued scroll painting.

Published References
  • , Kawahara Masahiko, Nakazato Tarouemon XII. Toji taikei [Complete Collection of Far Eastern Ceramics]. 48 vols., Tokyo, 1972-1978. vol. 26: fig. 52.
  • Shoki Kyo-yaki: Early Kyoto Ceramics. fig. 107.
  • Sato Masahiko. Kyoto Ceramics. Arts of Japan, no. 2, 1st ed. New York and Tokyo. pl. 24.
  • Sato Masahiko. Kyoyaki. Shibundo, no. 28 Tokyo, August 15, 1968. pl. 50.
  • Louise Allison Cort. Japanese Ceramics and Cuisine. vol. 3, no. 1 New York, Winter 1990. cover, p. 30, fig. 13.
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 75, p. 95.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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