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Subject:Japanese Bizen Ware Trade Jar Stamped "OK"
Posted By: Kevin Donnelley Mon, Jan 27, 2020 IP: 173.2.81.51

The reddish clay has a rough brown clay coat exterior w/the interesting all around textured feature of stone popping "Ishihaze". The "OK" mark was stamped prominently into the outer clay layer. The stamp would then indicate it was used for the export trade
And, I believe the mark would be a reference to the Okayama name, with the abbreviation used to signify the origin of the jar to English speaking trade partners.
Some white spotting from salts have formed around in the recesses and along the base. The foot is concave at the midsection.
Hoping someone may know more on the use of this mark or similar marks over the history of Japanese pottery

H: 8 1/4" ; 21cm

Thank you for looking

Kind regards

Kevin







Subject:Re: Japanese Bizen Ware Trade Jar Stamped "OK"
Posted By: Bill H Mon, Jan 27, 2020

Possibly an abbreviation for Okinawa (沖縄), the large southern island the USA returned to Japan in 1972, and which now is a prefecture. It is well known for its pottery, I believe.

Best regards,

Bill H.

Subject:Re: Japanese Bizen Ware Trade Jar Stamped "OK"
Posted By: Kevin Donnelley Tue, Jan 28, 2020

Thank you Bill

The age character of the foot, and textured finish along with the "clumsy" trade stamp appearance in Roman letters might indicate an early Edo dating.
Bizen ware received its name from the Bizen province where it has its traditional roots. The province is located in modern day Okayama Prefecture, and earlier in the Edo period, it was of the Okayama Domain

British traders arrived in Japan, early in the Edo period. These traders are known to have exported to Holland and other European countries different types of Japanese ceramics. A Roman letter stamp showing the port or domain of origin, in this case OK for Okayama would be perfectly explainable on a utilitarian jar with a stamp showing the origin from an exotic locale

Best regards

Kevin

Subject:Re: Japanese Bizen Ware Trade Jar Stamped "OK"
Posted By: Kevin Donnelley Mon, Jan 27, 2020

more views to show the all around character. I believe the photos show it has some age to it







Subject:Re: Japanese Bizen Ware Trade Jar Stamped "OK"
Posted By: Bill H Thu, Jan 30, 2020

Perhaps a bit far out, but wonder if this could be a Korean piece. The Korean phonetic alphabet has a couple of symbols that in one juxtaposition look rather like an OK. I've copied them into a graphic below but have no idea if they actually mean anything in the real world.

Good luck,

Bill H.



Subject:Re: Japanese Bizen Ware Trade Jar Stamped "OK"
Posted By: Kevin Donnelley Thu, Jan 30, 2020


Thanks Bill,
very interesting, thank you for the post-
clay from the Bizen region can fire to a variety of colors, including orange - after a partial cleaning of the foot rim to remove some of the patina, the photo below shows the Bizen orange color of the clay body. And then for comparison, a 17th c Edo saki bottle w/ a highly similar orange hue which is held at the LA County Museum of Art
The shape, flattish foot, rolled lip, inwardly conical neck, are all among the physical characteristics we may expect to find on early Japanese jars, aside from the aforementioned Bizen slip coat, color and stone popping features that we see here
I would like to find if in the history of the Japanese "OK" porcelain company there is a connection there to a kiln in the Okayama region, w/ possible roots to the Edo period of Bizen when I believe the piece was produced.

Best,

Kevin





Subject:Re: Japanese Bizen Ware Trade Jar Stamped "OK"
Posted By: Kevin Donnelley Mon, Feb 03, 2020

in further explanation:
the hard outer clay coat w/ it’s light sheen is very durable ,and impervious to water,. The crisp clean edges of the Ishihaze remain completely in tact without any sign of chipping despite the age character
buildup of mineral dirt has clung to the foot and foot rim from sitting on a dusty shelf over time perhaps rather than in someone's home interior
Washing around the foot rim to expose the orange clay of the body, the edge of the build up was soft and easily removed w/ nothing more than distilled water and a little rubbing. However, the area toward the mid-section has calcified. Deciding then to leave that area alone to better show the contrast between the effects of age and the clay color, as for the 2nd to last photo. The calcification then shows the effects of time

Skills in potting and firing techniques w/at least a knowledge of high iron content clay of the high fired Bizen stoneware had not arrived in the West until much later than the age character would show. Clays of different regions as we know fire differently. The Bizen wares of the West tend to demonstrate use of clays of different colors, rather than matching the detail of the Bizen orange color

The "clumsy" commercial like stamp would indicate a utilitarian purpose, as in it was not marked in the same manner that we might be accustomed to seeing of a potter so trained in Japanese arts, like a ware made to order w/out any need to show the artist's mark

Subject:Re: Japanese Bizen Ware Trade Jar Stamped "OK"
Posted By: Kevin Donnelley Thu, Feb 06, 2020

the high shoulder tapering baluster form wares can be found among different types of Japanese stoneware of the different periods
the first example from the Freer is a Tamba ware jar, Momoyama period. it has the similar inwardly conical neck and rolled lip character w/ some evidence of buildup on the recessed foot, w/ also very similar dimensions
https://asia.si.edu/object/F1986.18/

The second example is a Shigaraki jar, also at the Freer, and described as a tea leaf jar, without the same rolled lip character, and at least to a lesser extent of the high shoulder tapering form w/a more rounded overall shape. The distinction between foot and foot rim is greater and less flat than examples known to be of an earlier production. the dimensions are also very similar
https://asia.si.edu/object/F1898.435/


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