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The sides of this exquisite quince-shaped dish are decorated with various openwork motifs including the flower-like kuyo design representing the seven stars of the Big Dipper, bamboo leaves, circles, triangles, and a gourd. The somewhat broad and tall foot, the long handle across its rim, and the overall unbalanced, contorted shape lend to its complex decorative features. At first glance, the straw-colored glaze appears to completely and uniformly cover the entire piece, but a closer look reveals the subtle changes, which highlight the light yellowish brown color distinctive in straw ash glaze, caused by firing. The gentle lines created by the potter's wheel on the inner and outer surface of the dish and its warped features formed in the firing process, due to its large size in proportion to its thinness, have lent to the beauty of this dynamic piece. Originally thought to be Hagi ware, this bowl is today identified as an early Takatori work, based on ceramic shards excavated from the Uchigaso kiln site. Although Takatori tea containers (J., chaire) and fresh water jars (J., mizusashi) are well known, kaiseki dishes from Takatori kilns, used in formal tea gatherings, such as this elegant piece, are not uncommon.
Mottled-glazed Bowl with Handle
and Openwork Design


Takatori ware
Japan, 17th century
D. 26.1 cm, H. 20.0 cm

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