Japanese Double-lobed Gourd (Hyotan) Sake Flask | Showa Period
Very Japanese in character, this beautiful, lacquered, deep rust hyotan gourd was shaped while growing to make a convenient sake flask, (tokkuri). This is an original piece from the Showa period (1926-1989). It has its original resin stopper, (developed around 1920’s), held into place by a braided cord.
When traveling, hyotan, in an effort to keep the contents from escaping, typically had a narrow opening to accommodate a stopper and allow the gourd to be suspended from the obi sash. Antique and vintage hyotan are valued by connoisseurs of Japanese craft, for today, large collections are extant, since these were every-day objects used by the general public. This hyotan flask remains in excellent condition, with no cracking or peeling. Dimensions: 6-1/4”h x 3-3/4”w.
Gourds have been used throughout history in Japan as military canteens, (water bottles), called “suito” and “suibyou”, or as sake flasks, (tokkuri). There were a variety of other shapes and materials, including ceramic, for use created as sake containers. Tokkuri stoppers prior to the 1900s were made of ivory and soft wood. Aesthetic appearance, light weight, (basis for the use of the gourd), how it feels in the hand, and a proper pouring spout is critical in its design.