Japanese Bamboo Shoot Water Dropper

At first Suiteki were simply jars or bowls used for holding water, but as interest in the accoutrements of calligraphy grew, water-droppers became more specialized. Suiteki are used by brush calligraphers to hold and dispense exact amounts of water onto an ink stone for the purpose of mixing and diluting ink pigment. Due to the limited space inside, water droppers in writing boxes (suzuribako) were low in height and were uniform in shape – round, oval, or square with line-engravings or low relief designs. The Edo period, however, saw the emergence of Suiteki in larger 3-dimensional other shapes including animals, plants, and popular deities that could also serve as desk and shelf ornaments. Water-droppers varied greatly in material, shape and design and typically, are made of ceramic, semi-precious materials, copper, bronze and other metal alloys.

This Suiteki depicts a beautifully rendered bamboo shoot in heavy bronze, celebrating spring’s arrival.  This small Suiteki fits very comfortably in the hand. It is quite heavy and has a larger hole to fill the piece and a smaller opening at the tip of the shoot to emit water as needed. No stamp or signature. It is in excellent condition and dates approximately from the 1930s. Dimensions: 1-1/2”w x 2-1/2”d x 1-1/8”h

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