Sumida Vase, Ishiguro Kyozo

G.W.V. Smith Art Museum » Second Floor » Japanese Decorative Arts Gallery

This monumental ceramic vase won first prize in 1899 at the craft exhibition sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce and Agriculture held in Tokyo. Following the first World Exposition organized in London in 1851, national and international craft and industrial exhibitions became a feature of the second half of the 19th century. Objects produced for these exhibitions sought to represent national artistic traditions, high technical achievements and the nation’s claims of industrial importance, commonly expressed by the large size of pieces. All of these features are recognizable in this Sumida vase. The body is made of reddish unglazed porcelain clay with an overflowing milky green glaze coating the jar’s neck. The vase’s surface is occupied by relief figures of Buddhist holy men called Rakan (Arhat in Sanskrit), surrounding the seated figure of Buddha. The figures are shaped of the same clay, and details are added in underglaze cobalt blue and iron brown. As personal disciples of Buddha, Rakan are conventionally portrayed with halos around their shaven heads, long eyebrows, long earlobes (often with earrings) and wearing the Buddhist cloak attached to one shoulder. According to museum records, this vase passed from a Japanese art dealer in Atlantic City to one of G.W.V. Smith’s friends, Susan E.P. Forbes, who then donated it to the Museum.

Object Creator
Ishiguro, Kyozo (Japanese, dates unknown)
Object Creation Date
ca. 1899
Object Type
48 "
Gift of Susan E. P. Forbes
Accession Number
On View?
Image Request
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