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  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    500-600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stoneware, with natural ash glaze and paddling marks

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Japan, Room 45, The Toshiba Gallery, case 11

This round-bottomed jar is one of the earliest pieces of Japanese ceramics in the Museum's collection. It was probably intended as a burial accessory for one of the many large tombs built in Japan in the 6th century AD. Similar vessels with rounded bottoms have been found with tall supporting stands. The marks visible on the exterior reveal that the jar was made by joining together a series of coils of clay which were then beaten into shape with a textured paddle. The flow of air into the kiln was controlled so that only a limited amount of oxygen could enter. This resulting reduced atmosphere caused the iron-rich clay to turn a greyish black colour. The deep green splash of glaze which defines the front of the jar is the chance result of flying ash from the wood fuel settling and melting on the pot surface during firing. These features are characteristic of ceramics known as Sue wares. The technology for making these wares was introduced into Japan from Korea at the turn of the 5th century AD.

Physical description

Round bottomed jar with flaring mouth made of stoneware with a natural ash glaze and paddling marks.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


500-600 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Stoneware, with natural ash glaze and paddling marks


Height: 25.4 cm

Descriptive line

Round-bottomed jar, stoneware with natural ash glaze, Sue ware, Japan, Kofun period, 6th century
Cer, Japan, Sue ware

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Ayers, John. Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Sotheby Parke Bernet, in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1980, Colour Plate No. 224.
Earle, Joe, ed. Japanese art and design London: V&A Publishing, 2009, p. 31.

Labels and date

Round-bottomed jar

Jars of this kind were made to be buried in tombs. It is thought that they were intended for the deceased to use in the afterlife. The jar was created using technology introduced from Korea in the 5th century. This included firing in kilns, which allowed Japanese potters to make stoneware rather than earthenware for the first time.

Stoneware with natural ash glaze
Museum no. FE.8-1972
Round-Bottomed Jar
Stoneware with natural ash glaze and padding marks
Sue ware
About 500-600
Jars of this shape have been found in tombs. They were normally used with tall supporting stands. [1986]
Round-bottomed jar
Sue ware
Stoneware with natural ash-glaze
AD 500-600
V&A FE.8-1972
[January 2015]


Stoneware; Ash glaze


Glazed; Impressed


Ceramics; Containers; Stoneware


East Asia Collection

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