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Flask, 7th century A.D.


This flask exemplifies a type of ceramic vessel produced in the sixth and seventh centuries in Japan for ritual use or for placement in tombs as offerings. Its technology reflects the contacts with Korea and China that accompanied the introduction of Buddhism and other aspects of continental culture to Japan in the Asuka period. The production of Sue wares signaled the beginning of a new phase of ceramic art in Japan. Sue wares are true stonewares, produced with the aid of a potter’s wheel and fired in tunnel kilns at 1200 degrees Celsius.

Sue wares frequently exhibit unusual shapes that are sturdy and robust. The vigorous, swelling form of this flask is restricted to one side; the back is flat, its surface incised with thin lines. The fine clay of Sue wares, which were unglazed, fired to a metallic gray color. The spectacular splash of green glaze over one side of this vessel was accidental, created in the kiln by ashes that fell and fused on the surface of the pot during the firing process.


(Klaus F. Naumann Oriental Art, Tokyo);

purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1983.

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