Signed Ki-Seto Mizusashi

Kiln: Signed, unknown, pending further research.

Approximate size: W6.6″  by H7.3″ or 16.8 by 12.7 by 18.5 cm

Created somewhere in Aichi prefecture, home to one of the great pottery traditions of Japan. This ash glazed mizusashi or freshwater pot shows the qualities associated with a main style of Seto pottery called ki-Seto or yellow Seto.

Though it has a kiln mark, the exact workshop or maker is unknown to me. First added to my collection because of the exquisite ash glaze deposited exterior.

The Japanese term for it, setomono, is also used as a generic term for all pottery made in this area. Seto was the location of one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan, the place of origin of the Six great founding pottery traditions.

A traditional Ki-Seto or yellow glaze covers this bulbous mizusashi or waterpot used in the tea ceremony. Going around the pot the glaze is shown in all its splendor, going from a ash heavy view to a glass and drippy base. The drips and thicker areas where the ash pooled show a fine blue tint.

Seto ware is the pottery made in Seto city and nearby areas of modern Aichi prefecture, Japan. The Seto area was the center of pottery manufacture in the Kamakura period; the term ko-Seto or old Seto designates pieces made at this time. At the end of the Muromachi period the center of the pottery manufacture moved to nearby Mino. At that time, wares made in the area from Seto to Mino were called Seto yaki. In the early Edo period, some pottery manufacture moved back to Seto. In 1822, Kato Tamikichi (1722-1824), introduced Sometsuke-jiki (blue-and-white porcelain; sometsuke), from Arita in modern Saga prefecture, and this porcelain, called Shinsei (new production), rather than the original Seto ware pottery, hongyou became standard.

During the Meiji period, Seto ware adapted Western techniques, gaining great popularity. In addition to plain seto, the Mino kilns also produced several types of Seto wares from the mid-16th century, including Seto-guro (black seto), and Ki-seto (yellow seto). Ki-seto, fired at the same kilns as Shino and Seto-guro wares during the Momoyama period, featured “fried bean-curd” glaze, Aburagede (油揚げ abura-age or aburage), developed in emulation of Chinese celadons. It utilizes an iron-rich wood-ash glaze and is reduction fired at a high temperature to produce a celadon-like texture and bone colour; in an oxygen-rich kiln, the minerals in the clay and glaze create a distinctive opaque yellow glaze.

The mizusashi has no chips or cracks and remains in mint condition. Comes with the original signed paulownia wooden box with the kiln stamp and calligraphy. Please add this wonderful Ki-seto mizusashi to your collection.


Thank you very much!

The front of the lid translates as follows

灰釉 (kaiyu) – ash glaze
水指 – mizusashi