Condition: Excellent

Unusual Japanese Kutani Porcelain Sake Set | Guinomi | Showa

This three-piece sake set includes a decanter, (tokkuri), and two small cups, (guinomi), features hand-painted images of the Iris in green, blue, and white and finished in gold trim. The Kutani mark is seen on the bottom of each piece. This sake set dated mid 20th/c, and is a fine example of the Showa period, (1926-1989). Each piece is in excellent condition with no cracks or dings, and truly illustrates the inspiration of the art deco era in the artistic handling of the motif. Dimensions: Tokkuri- 6-0”h x 2-1/2”dia. Guinomi- 2-0”h x 1/3/4”dia.  

Historical Information —

Sake has long been an important part of Japanese culture.  In the past, sake was considered a very special item, 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 and special sake flasks are used to both prepare and dispense this unique Japanese drink.  Sake is warmed either by immersing the flask (already filled with sake of course) into warm water until the desired temperature is reached, or 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 have developed their own ritual significance, which is still evident in modern Japan.  It is common at Japanese engagement parties for the man and woman to exchange sake cups as a sign of their mutual intent to marry.  Very beautiful sake cups are also given away to celebrate the birth of a child, as these cherished items are considered symbolic of the significance of the new parent-child relationship.  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.  Hand-painted cups and flasks are highly collectable both within and outside Japan, and are eagerly sought after by collectors who value their utilitarian nature and artistic splendor.


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