Water pot, Edo period (1615–1868), ca. 1625
Bizen pottery; lacquer cover; called Daruma–shape; H. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1925 (25.215.47a,b)
The potter achieved the deformed, asymmetrical shape of this water jar by altering the soft clay after forming the basic shape on a potter's wheel. Such an effect was purposefully created to coincide with an aesthetic associated with the tea ceremony which favored somewhat imperfect forms. The lacquer lid was custom-made for the oddly shaped vessel. Lacquer was a precious substance in Japan, and the contrast between the glossy black lid and the earthy body of the vessel would have been much appreciated within the context of the tea room. In the tea ceremony, this vessel was used as a mizusashi, a container that holds fresh water to rinse the tea bowls or fill the kettle.