Ryukyu Kingdom Tsuboya Ware “Uninuti” Vase


A Yakishime Tokkuri from Tsuboya during the Ryukyu Kingdom period offers a fascinating glimpse into the pottery traditions of the time. Unlike the glazed Joyachi pottery found in Tsuboya ware, this piece represents a more practical example of Arayachi, the unglazed type, and this particular shape is known as ‘Uninuti’ in local parlance. Its name, “The Arms of Ogre,” derives from its robust, rod-like shape and its historical use as a weapon in maritime battles against pirates. In Japan, the Uninuti has been prized as a flower vase, the same as “Hanbei” from South China, commonly referred to as “Nanban-Chimaki”.

Notably, this Tokkuri stands out for its elongated and distorted silhouette, lending it a distinctive character. The mustard-coloured natural glaze adorning its surface adds an intriguing touch. The steep and uneven texture of the vessel’s exterior imbues it with a rustic charm, showcasing the unique beauty of Nanban pottery.

While a few chips are present around the mouth, the piece remains in good condition, with no other significant defects.

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