Lidded Incense Container with a Dragon Maker: (lid) Raku Ryonyu (Japanese, 1756–1834)

13th century

Asian Art

On view, 2nd floor, Asian Art

The elements of this charming incense container document the object’s travels and various functions. Made in China, the green-glazed vessel was brought to Japan, where it was used as a tea container. The gold lacquer repairs on the side and lip are Japanese and illustrate the value assigned to this Chinese ceramic in Japan. The earthenware lid is the work of Raku Ryonyu (1756–1834), the ninth generation of the Raku family of potters, and an American artist is responsible for the lively pewter dragon crawling on the lid.


Stoneware with crackled green glaze


without lid: 1 3/8 × 2 3/16 × 2 3/16 in. (3.5 × 5.5 × 5.5 cm)
with lid: 1 7/8 × 2 5/16 × 2 3/8 in. (4.8 × 5.8 × 6 cm)

Credit Line

Anonymous loan

Loan number



Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)–Modern


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Purchased from Zetterquist Galleries, 2000; Richard M. Danziger;
  • Sadako Ohki and Takeshi Watanabe, Tea Culture of Japan (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2009), 93, no. 46, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

incense containers, stoneware


On the wooden box front writing from right to left : "hibi seiji .. / chaire/ hogai Kyuudai" followed by a 'Kiwam' seal" meaning "crackled Seiji .../ tea container/ supplemental lid made by the 9th generation [Raku Ryounyuu].


The container does not bear a signature but the lid bears the round seal of "Raku" inside. The wooden box lid exterior bears a "kiwame" seal with inscription in sumi ink, "crack-pattern seiji, tea container, lid restored by the ninth generation [Raku family]."

Technical metadata and APIs


Open in Mirador

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