A mizusashi is a utensil used in the Japanese tea ceremony, a tradition with medieval origins that is still widely practiced today. In a tea gathering, a host prepares bowls of tea by whisking together powdered green tea and hot water drawn from a kettle. The mizusashi, typically an earthenware or stoneware jar, holds the water used to replenish the kettle and rinse the bowls. The first utensil to enter the room and the last to leave, the mizusashi is a locational and aesthetic anchor for the gathering and can take a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and appearances.
This selection of 20th- and 21st-century mizusashi highlights two important trends—the perpetuation of longstanding tea traditions alongside the artistry and technical excellence that define modern Japanese ceramics.
Katsumata Chieko (b. 1950), Akoda (Pumpkin-shaped) Water Jar, 2015; Matte-glazed stoneware, 7 x 9 ⅞ x 9 ⅞ inches © Katsumata Chieko. Photography: Richard Goodbody