Vase with design of herons and reeds

Vase featuring design of two herons standing in water amongst reeds. Classic “mei-ping” shape with thick rim, short neck and broad, squared shoulders. Body tapers gradually down from shoulders to rest on flat base. Foot trimmed to create footring.

Clay: Porcelain, footring darkened on surface by use.

Glaze: Underglaze blue applied to create the water and reeds and outline of herons. Grey glaze appears dusted onto body in highest concentration around design. Traces of grey throughout entire body. Colorless glaze applied to interior, exterior and foot. Unglazed footrim.

Decoration: Two white herons standing in blue water amongst delicate, swaying blue reeds. One bird, turned sideways, faces left and stands on one leg with its neck and head turned toward the other bird who is facing right and standing on both legs with its back towards the viewer. The grey background highlights the herons, shades their feathers and fills in the outlines for their beaks, eyes and legs.

Signatures/Inscriptions: Two paper labels: “CMK 27” and “0 6497 $10.00”. (This piece still retains its original price sticker on its foot.)

… Read More

Historical period(s)
Meiji era, ca. 1893-1899
Medium
Porcelain with cobalt pigment under glaze, black enamel over glaze
Dimensions
H x W x D: 19 x 8.6 x 8.6 cm (7 1/2 x 3 3/8 x 3 3/8 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Bequest of Isabel S. Kurtz
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
F1991.44
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Vase

Keywords
cobalt pigment, heron, Japan, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), porcelain
Provenance

To ?
Charles M. Kurtz (1855-1909). [1]

To 1991
Isabel S. Kurtz (1901-1991). [2]

From 1991
Freer Gallery of Art, bequest of Isabel S. Kurtz (1901-1991). [3]

Notes:

[1] Ms. Isabel Kurtz bequeathed the group of Asian ceramics, F1991.19-.44, to the Freer Gallery of Art. These objects had been collected by her father, Charles M. Kurtz, who was a friend of Charles Freer. Also see Curatorial Remark 2 in the object record.

[2] See note 1. Also see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

[3] See note 2.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles M. Kurtz 1855-1909
Isabel S. Kurtz 1901-1991

Description

Vase featuring design of two herons standing in water amongst reeds. Classic "mei-ping" shape with thick rim, short neck and broad, squared shoulders. Body tapers gradually down from shoulders to rest on flat base. Foot trimmed to create footring.

Clay: Porcelain, footring darkened on surface by use.

Glaze: Underglaze blue applied to create the water and reeds and outline of herons. Grey glaze appears dusted onto body in highest concentration around design. Traces of grey throughout entire body. Colorless glaze applied to interior, exterior and foot. Unglazed footrim.

Decoration: Two white herons standing in blue water amongst delicate, swaying blue reeds. One bird, turned sideways, faces left and stands on one leg with its neck and head turned toward the other bird who is facing right and standing on both legs with its back towards the viewer. The grey background highlights the herons, shades their feathers and fills in the outlines for their beaks, eyes and legs.

Signatures/Inscriptions: Two paper labels: "CMK 27" and "0 6497 $10.00". (This piece still retains its original price sticker on its foot.)

Label

This vase was part of a collection formed by Charles M. Kurtz (1855-1909), during the period when he served as assistant art director for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and art director for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial International Exposition in St. Louis. Kurtz's collecting focused on porcelain with highly colored glazed. Along with these pieces by prominent Japanese potters, Kurtz acquired vases of similar shapes and colors from American and European factories. Kurtz's collection, representative of a broad popular interest in Japanese art in the late nineteenth century, also reflects the growing internationalism in the decoration of ceramics resulting from rapid exchange of information and technology facilitated by the international fairs.

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.