You are here:

Fire-flame Cooking Vessel

Fire-flame Cooking Vessel

c. 2500 BC

Japan, Jōmon period

(c. 10,500-300 BC)

Earthenware with carved and applied decoration

Diameter: 55.8 cm (21 15/16 in.); Overall: 61 cm (24 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1984.68


Archaeologists call this kind of vessel “fire-flame,” ka’en in Japanese, because their tops resemble flames. No one knows why the design was created, or what it actually represents. This example is remarkable for the amount that is original. It was recently determined that the bottom from a different vessel was used during its reconstruction, creating a false impression of its intended scale; it would have been about four inches shorter. Since their lower portions were set into holes in the ground during use, bases of pots like these often deteriorated.

See also
Japanese Art
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

Request a digital file from image services

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Is something not working on this page? Please email