Karatsu Ware “Chōsen Karatsu” Jar | Japan, 17C


A Karatsu ware, so-called “Chōsen Karatsu” small jar, the pastel blue streaking straw ash glaze shines in a brown glaze. It is baked in Azuchi–Momoyama period (1568-1603) and it is considered as “Kogaratsu”. The style is reminiscent of Fujinokawachi kiln, one of the famous kiln in Karatsu, but it is possibly made from Yamase kiln judging from the clay, a thread-cut mark and a crack on the bottom. This kind of jar has been often handed down as a fresh-water jar with lids for tea ceremony, but they were originally made as daily items.

There are various theories regarding the origin of Karatsu ware, but recent excavation and research finds its origin in the area surrounding Kishidake Castle, under the auspices of the Hata family, and the kilns were founded with Korean potters. There are a wide range of Karatsu ware types, but in the early days, it was mainly using straw ash glaze and called “Chōsen Karatsu” and “Madaragaratsu”. This jar is an early type in the so-called “Kogaratsu”, and can be said that it is a direct descent of Hoeryong Ware in the north of Korean Peninsula.

It is rough made even if it is made as daily items. However, it can be imagined that the moment when Hoeryong ware, which was once accomplished on the Korean Peninsula, is about to take root in a new land, and is reborn to Karatsu ware absorbing its natural features. With that in mind, the straw ash glaze streaking in the center looks like a flame ignited by Korean potters in the land of Karatsu. This jar tells that everything is continuous, even if it is separated by the sea.

There is a crack at the bottom that arising during the kiln process, but they are filled with lacquer and there is no water leakage. As a flower vase, using an inner water container is recommended just in case.

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