This vase was fired unglazed in a wood-fired kiln. Ash deposited on the clay surface produced a glossy finish, one side being ash gray and the other side reddish brown due to high temperature. The bottle neck is covered with sprinkles of yellow. The combined effect of the three, and how they work together, imparts a simple, natural esthetic.
Bizen ware refers to the ceramics produced in the kilns surrounding Bizen City in Japan's Okayama prefecture. The lid of the box bears writing in black ink reading, "Old Bizen tokuri flower vase," showing that this vase was originally a wine vessel (tokuri), but was later put to use as a flower vase. It is a classic example of Bizen ware.