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Sake Bottle
Japan, Gifu Prefecture; Momoyama period (1573-1615), late 16th century
Stoneware painted with iron brown on slip with an overlay of copper-green glaze under glaze
H. 7 in. (17.8 cm); D. 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
This bottle is an example of Oribe type stoneware, which was immensely popular during the early 17th century, especially as tea ceremony utensils. This piece may have been used for sake, or rice wine, which was often drunk with the meal during a tea ceremony. The body of the bottle is decorated with a simplified design of autumn grasses, a ubiquitous motif in Japanese literature and visual arts, symbolizing the transience of both the seasons and life. The vessel's neck and shoulder are covered with a luminous green copper glaze, a trademark of Oribe ceramics.
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