Louis A. and Frances B. Wagner Lecture Series: The Tea-leaf Storage Jar Named Chigusa and the Art of Tea in Japan by Louise Cort, Curator of Ceramics, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Sunday, April 27, 2014
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.



Price: Free with admission. Free with admission. Reception to follow.

Tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa with mouth cover and ornamental cords
Courtesy Freer Gallery of Art

The mouth cover for Chigusa is new, made by Tsuchida YÅ«kō in 2013; the cords for tying ornamental knots are from the Japanese Meiji era (late 19th–early 20th c.)

Japanese collectors in the sixteenth century used the compact tea room as the setting for interacting with objects. Looking closely at form and surface, they singled out exceptional works and gave them personal names. These named objects could develop a reputation and a history as they were displayed and used in tea gatherings. Louise Cort will show how one Chinese storage jar was transformed into a vessel worthy of display, adornment, and contemplation. Diaries of tea events reveal what the writers admired about the jar named Chigusa, in addition to other cherished objects—Chinese calligraphy, Chinese and Korean tea bowls, Japanese stoneware and wooden vessels—used during this formative era of Japanese tea culture.


This lecture is made possible by generous support from Louis A. and Frances B. Wagner.

Tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa and its innermost storage box
Courtesy Freer Gallery of Art

This storage box for Chigusa, the innermost of three, is Japanese from the Edo period (1615–1868), and is made of lacquered paulownia wood.

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