Friday, December 21, 2007


Mizusashi referes to a large water jars used during the Japanese tea ceremony. (Mizu means 'water') Usually, but not always, they have black lacquer lids with a small loop on the top.
They can be just about any shape; as finished or as primitive as the imagination can dream up. The only requirement is containment of a certain amount of hot water and an opening large enough to accomodate a special bamboo dipper. They are usually quite heavy, although there really are no rules when it comes to mizusashis. (Shown here with the iron water container, heater underneath and the bamboo dipper in the background.)

When I visited Japan a couple of years ago, I was intrigued by the huge variety of interpretations of this jar form. We visited one museum devoted exclusively to mizusashis. And, since they are an integral part of the aesthetic of tea ceremony, they can be extremely expensive and a prized possession.

I came back to my studio and made several. It is a beautiful form for creating various storage jars and in the classic shape, makes a very pleasing object to have in your house.
I happened to have some corrupted black glaze that had morphed into a wonderful chocolate brown. It worked perfectly as a substitute for the lacquer lid. This example is quite large. My teabags live in there.


Sister Creek Potter said...

A wonderful post--very generous--I shall have to try my hand at making a mizusashis! Thanks for the lovely gift!

karatsupots said...

Hello Jeanette,
Just saw this post on your blog, and thought it was neat that you posted on mizusashi. You mentioned about the black lacquer lids. These are used (originally)to replace broken lids or serve as lids for 'found' mizusashi. More recently, they have come to be used by artists as the original lid for a vessel, especially on vessels with odd openings, just because they look nice. More often than not, though, a lacquer lid means that the vessel is appraised at a much reduced value, because it is 'damaged'. Personally, I love 'em.
Really enjoyed your blog,

clayartist said...

Thanks, Sister Creek for the nice words.

And Mike, Thanks for the great information about the lids. I never knew that! Although I did wonder about why laquer was used instead of clay. There's a lot of mizusashis in the world wearing laquer. heh

Mike, your work is stunning! I've added your blog (As well as Gay's) to my list of blogs-to-see-every-day list.