Japanese Ceramic Sake Cup (Guinomi) with Village Scene

Sake has long been an important part of Japanese culture.  In the past, sake was considered a very special drink, reserved for only the most important occasions, such as weddings, birth celebrations and other auspicious events.  Sake was considered a sacred drink, and accordingly, the first glass poured was always offered to the gods before the remainder could be shared among the celebrants.  Sake can be served either warm or cold through the use of a special sake kettle called a choshi.  The latter method however, though common in old Japan, is today usually reserved for ceremonial events only.  Over time, sake utensils, such as cups, (guinomi) have developed their own ritual significance, which is still evident in modern Japan. Though normally small in size, sake cups and flasks have long been used in Japan as a medium for the expression of art and calligraphy.  Cups and flasks, (tokkuri) with historical images are highly collectable both within and outside Japan, and are eagerly sought after by collectors who value their utilitarian nature and artistic craftsmanship.

This piece was made during the occupation of China in the 1930s and incorporates a black and white image of a village scene on the bottom of the interior of the cup depicting a bridge and Lion Dog (Lion Dogs are guardians of temples and shirnes most likely taken during the Second Sino-Japanese War [1937-1945] when Japan occupied much of North and Coastal China). It is in very good condition with no chips or cracks. The image on the interior is slightly faded. The cup lip is trimmed in a gold motif with Buddhist red color interior sides. The piece is signed on the bottom and the interior edge, and typically would be the name of the village and historical documentation. Dimensions: 2 ¼” dia x 1-0”h.

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