Blown Glass Sake Cups | Kazumi, Tsuji | Japanese Contemporary

Japan is the site of some of the most exciting developments in the world of contemporary sculptural and functional glassware. The term ‘studio glass’ is often used in the specific sense of glass produced by artists such as, Kazumi Tsuji, who operate in small workshops and are personally involved in every level of the design and construction process. The origins of Japanese studio glass can be traced to the 1920s and 1930s. Fujita Koyhei, (b.1921), is widely regarded as the father of Japan’s contemporary glass movement.

This collection of clear/brown glassware is blown and cut by Japanese glass artist Kazumi Tsuji from Kanazawa, Japan. She was born there in 1964. She established her glass studio, the “factory zoomer” in 1999, (see accompanying images). She has been engaged in design and production aimed at a new standard of glassware, to develop pieces in the style of their own that do not care about the genre of off-the-shelf.

Kazumi Tsuji utilizes a traditional Japanese glass technique called Kiriko, which is a method of layering colored glass (typically black and brown) on top of a clear glass base and then cutting or etching away at the colored surface to create patterns. Kazumi’s interpretation is very modern, using geometric forms to complement the accent color on a clear base. Each piece is individually blown and shaped using wood paddles, and are in original condition with no chips or breaks. Only sold as a two piece set, (cup and saucer). Dimensions: Cup: 2-1/4” dia. x 2-0”h / Saucer: 3-3/4”dia.

Additional Information—

SAKE CUPS: There are two primary ways to serving sake. The first, and easiest way is simply to treat it like a white wine — serve it in glass as you would any crisp white wine. I recommend making smaller pours only because the Japanese feel this is more social, and supports long conversation.

The other enjoyable way of serving sake celebrates it’s role as part of the aesthetic experience of a Japanese meal. Like many aspects of traditional eating and drinking in Japan, sake consumption has its own particular aesthetic and set of specialized serving, (Tokkuri), and drinking vessels, (Guinomi).

From priceless, century-old handmade pottery to modern hand-blown glass, sake cups and bowls are celebrated, (and collected), as a core part of the Japanese experience of drinking sake, especially as part of a formal dining experience like the multi-course kaiseki meal.

On occasion, (in restaurants, mostly), sake can also be served in a square wooden box, with or without a glass sitting inside of it, overflowing with sake. This over-pouring is done to wish prosperity.  If served in a box, (masu), (usually for some celebratory reason), the box is simply treated like a cup that is most easily drunk from the corner. If the box contains a glass brimming with sake, it is best sipped without hands until the glass can safely be picked up and used without fear of spilling. Once the glass is empty, the overflow can be drunk from the box and the process begins again. This overflow of sake is a wish for prosperity, so it not unusual for the server to pour a generous amount of sake.

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