Freer Gallery of Art acquires 13th century Japanese tea jar

The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art has acquired a rare 13th-14th century tea jar "widely revered as an icon of Japanese tea culture." The jar, originally made in China, has been used to store tea for over five centuries. (photo)

"This handsome jar has been admired and sought after by Japanese tea masters for half a millennium," said James Ulak, deputy director of the Freer and Arthur M. Sackler galleries. "As the documentation shows, its surface has been admired and caressed by a who's who of Japan's cultural giants from the 15th century forward. It is extremely rare to find such a storied work on the market."