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This antique Seto piece features a warm matte ash glaze with several patches of darker and lighter pigmentation. The molded clay shows striations that resemble textured wood grains—highlighted by a soft patina developed over many decades of use.
Seto is a pottery tradition established in the 12th century with the aim of reproducing fine Chinese porcelain and tenmoku-style chawan—which were hard to come by in Japan at the time. Later, during the Muromachi period, Seto potters established kilns in Mino thus starting the period known as Ko-seto, or “old seto.” These pieces were distinctive as they were produced in small batches and with great care. Later in Edo, the large-kiln style of production or “ogama” was introduced ushering in an era of mass production of glazed pottery and thus ending the era of ko-Seto production. This piece was likely produced prior to the introduction of these large batch kilns.
In fine antique condition, this piece measure 3.7 inches in diameter (9.5 cm) and stands 3.1 inches tall (8 cm). It comes with a lacquered wood tomobako and a protective cloth.