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Vase with drum-shaped body and elephant head handles

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Label Text

Freer bought this vase at an American Art Association auction in 1905, where it was offered as part of the sale of the Thomas A. Waggaman collection. (Waggaman, a resident of Washington, D.C. and one of the founders of that city's Catholic University, had opened a private gallery in his Georgetown home in 1888, proposing to charge admission and dedicate the income to the Catholic church). This drum-shaped vase, which dates to the early Edo period, is based on Chinese ceramic prototypes, reflecting the interest in classical Chinese tea wares in seventeenth-century Japan. Freer was especially proud of this piece, and he loaned it to a 1914 exhibition at the Japan Society in New York, where it attracted the attention of Edward Sylvester Morse, whose own collection of Japanese ceramics was destined for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Morse singled out this vase among other Japanese ceramics shown at the 1914 exhibition as being "unique" for its "soft, enticing gold and silver iridescence," which he thought—erroneously—was the result of actual application of silver oxide. He mused: "The curious surface has in places the appearance of the mottled patina and lucent incrustations attaching to bronzes inhumed not too long and subsequently freely handled and caressed." The lambent surface was especially attractive to Freer, whose collection of American paintings exhibited similarly complex surface beauties.

Object Name

Vase

Ware

Bizen ware, Imbe type

Dated

17th century

Period

Edo period

Medium

Stoneware with slip

Dimensions

HxW: 19.6 x 13.2 cm

City

Imbe

Country

Japan

Credit Line

Gift of Charles Lang Freer

Iteration

2

Shelf Number

10

Wall

North

Title

Vase with drum-shaped body and elephant head handles

Object Number

F1905.32

Freer Source

American Art Association

Freer Source City

New York

Freer Source State

New York

Freer Source Country

United States

Image

http://141.217.97.109/plugins/Dropbox/files/peacock-jpg/JPEG/F1905.32.jpg

Collection

Citation

"Vase with drum-shaped body and elephant head handles," in The Peacock Room, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Accession No. F1905.32, Item #3083, http://www.peacockroom.wayne.edu/items/show/3083 (accessed November 19, 2017).