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Sumida Gawa Pitcher

Sumida gawa Pitcher, c. 1900, probably Inuoue Ryosai III (Japanese, 1888-1971), Gift of Nella C. Moss, 1936.4.576.


Sumida gawa pottery—known for bright colors, rich glazes, and fanciful three-dimensional relief figures of plants, people, and animals, —was created in 1890 solely for export to the West. The distinct type of ceramics got its name from the Sumida river running near the Asakusa pottery district near Tokyo.

This pitcher features persimmons ripening on a tree. The fruits are a common symbol of autumn, when the sweet fruit ripens. The pitcher bears the signature of Inoue Ryosai. This is possibly Inoue Ryosai III (1888-1971), who moved the manufacturing site to Yokohama in 1924. The Ryosai family created a great number of the sumida gawa ceramics on the market.