Title:Cha-ire (Tea Caddy)Artist:Artist UnknownDate:late 16th centuryCreation Place:Asia, JapanCredit Line:The Putnam Dana McMillan FundAccession Number:2000.29.1a,b
From medieval times, Japanese potters in and around Imbe village in the old province of Bizen produced a variety of sturdy utilitarian vessels using the local, iron rich clay. The unglazed, rich reddish brown clay appealed to 16th century tea masters, who prized accidental kiln effects. This small, finely crafted tea caddy exhibits the goma-yu (sesame seed glaze) effect in which small beads of natural ash glaze form in the firing process. The caddy was once owned by Sotatsu Sai (active early 19th century), the 8th grand tea master of the Omote school of tea, whose signature appears on the box.