Broadcast on April 2, 2015
Available until March 31, 2029
The Tea Leaf Jar with moon and plum tree design in overglaze enamels was made by the studio of Ninsei in the seventeenth century. It bears a richly colourful design with the blossoms depicted in red and silver and the trunk and branches, mainly in green and purple. The moon is silver and golden clouds waft around the tree. It was extremely difficult to produce such a painting-like design on pottery using the techniques available in this period. The transformation of a flat medium, painting, into a three-dimensional image also testifies to Ninsei’s extraordinary skill. The jar is thought to have been ordered by Kyogoku Takatoyo, the lord of Marugame on Shikoku. Takatoyo was a young man who loved painting and yearned for the capital, Kyoto. In responding to this difficult order, Ninsei produced his masterwork. Kyoto in those days was a city brimming with creativity where the latest ideas were realized using the highest techniques.