Japanese Copper Suichuu 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 water dropper is referred to as a Suichuu, as it is shaped like a tea pot and has a pouring spout and a handle. This wonderful vintage copper Suiteki has four designs applied to the upper surface (Jade Tree, Japanese Human Figure, a Koi and a Chimera for a handle. It is all copper and has a beautiful patina with some aging spots. Incorporated is a chrynthemum surrounding the opening to fill the piece and a spout to emit water one drop at a time. Approximate date is from 1930-1940s. Dimensions: 4-0”dia. x 2-0”h (incl. handle).

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