Not sure if this is authentic or really anything?
About 8″ tall…
very heavy…about 2lbs
Brownish with an iridescent glaze…
has a mark but I can’t really make out exactly what the first character is.
Thanks for any suggestions! (Brad )
I have received an email with the above photos from Brad in California. I guess he wanted to know more about the bottle he has bought. It is always difficult to judge an item based only on photographs. My initial impression is that of a Bizen sake bottle, but it looks very heavy and in my opinion, too thick for Bizen-ware. Comparing it with some pieces in my private collection of old Japanese pottery, which consists of 12th to 18th century pieces, including a few Tokoname jars of different periods as well as occasional odd pieces that come into my possession from time to time, I am inclined to say that Brad’s bottle was made in Tokoname. It was fired with coal with additional wood stoking, in a huge kiln called “secchuu-gama” which is a kind of nobori-gama. The measurements and the description given by Brad, as well as other tell-tale signs present on its surface, i.e. the thickness of the bottle combined with a thinly applied slip and the absence of a glaze are, for me, confirmation of its provenance. In addition, natural wood ash at the bottom shows a sign of upside-down packing in firing. I have no idea about the first initial of the stamped mark but it should take 0.7 litre of liquid. I would say it was a container for hydrochloric or nitric acid which was in great demand in Japan in the 1950’s. I have seen many bigger acid bottles with handles when I was only a kid. This is the best I could do without seeing and touching the bottle. I hope I gave Brad the answer he was looking for.
It is the best to see and handle an actual pot to identify what it is. Last year I had the chance to work at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge where I was invited to identify old Japanese pottery. Around 300 pieces of ceramics were examined and classified, among them many chawan and chaire (tea caddies); Dr. John Shakeshaft helped transcribe my words while Ching-Fen typed everything down. I managed to sort out most of them, but a few puzzling pieces still need to be researched further. I will tell you more about the treasures I found there if I get a permission from the museum.