Skip to content


An image of Teabowl by Ôtagaki RENGETSU
Alternate image of Teabowl by Ôtagaki RENGETSU Alternate image of Teabowl by Ôtagaki RENGETSU


(Japan 1791 – 1875)

19th century
Media category
Materials used
stoneware with underglaze blue and black pigment on white slip

9.0 x 12.5 cm

Roger Pietri Fund 2005
Accession number
Lower Asian gallery
Further information

A charming, hand-built tea bowl, with the design of a pine on the inside, and a poem on the outside brushed by the female artist Rengetsu:

This being New Year’s Day
to the fields my heart
is drawn –
may there be
young pines to be pulled

(trans. Sayumi Takahashi)

Rengetsu was born into a samurai family and became a nun after her husband and children died. She adopted the name Rengetsu, meaning 'lotus moon', and became well known for her tasteful inscriptions of poem on ceramics. This poem epitomizes the Japanese aesthetic of transience that is explored throughout the Gallery's displays of Japanese art.

A comparable teabowl by Rengetsu is illustrated in Soame Jenyns, 'Japanese Pottery', 1971, pl. 119b.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, December 2005.

Bibliography (1)

Melanie Eastburn, Lucie Folan and Robin Maxwell, Black robe white mist: art of the Japanese Buddhist nun Rengetsu, Australia, 2007, 92 (colour illus.). 112

Exhibition history (3)

Black Robe, White Mist Otagaki Rengetsu, National Gallery of Australia, Parkes, 08 Sep 2007–27 Jan 2008

Homage to Rengetsu: Kevin Lincoln and Asian ceramics (2010), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Oct 2010–14 Feb 2011

Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–05 Sep 2015