Kutani Guinomi

Japanese Kutani Sake Ceremonial Cups | Hotei and Jurojin, (two of The Seven Gods of Good Fortune) | Meiji Era

Age:Meiji (1900-1930)

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 2-0” dia x 1-0”h

These delicate Kutani Sake Cups are gold-plated, hand-painted with beautiful colors picturing Hotei, (God of Contentment and Happiness), and Jurojin, (God of Wisdom and Longevity). Each exhibit splendid, fine brushwork, with blue and white scenes of the outer surface, and raised on a small rim foot. These were made during the mid to late Japanese Meiji period, (1900-1930), and acquired in the beautiful and historic city of Shizuoka which is near the foot of Mt. Fuji. The mark of Kutani ware is affixed to on the bottom of each. 

These two were specifically selected as a wedding gifts, although these typically are seen in a full set of seven, and were purchased with a specific wish, represented by each God from the gift-giver. In the past and today, 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.  

Condition: Excellent condition with no chips, cracks or scratches, stains, or blemishes from handling and age. Hand-painted cups such as these are highly collectible both within and outside Japan and are eagerly sought after by collectors who value their utilitarian nature and artistic splendor.

NOTE: Beautiful Kutani Japanese sake cup (guinomi in Japanese).  Kutani-ware has been produced in Japan for over 300 years within remote villages of the ‘nine valleys’ (Kutani means nine valleys), region of Kaga province in Japan’s Ishikawa prefecture. Kutani kilns have produced some of Japan’s finest ceramic art through generations of refined production.  Though the actual origins of Kutani-ware are uncertain, we know that the kilns of the nine valleys were long supported through the patronage of the powerful Maeda clan who were the hereditary rulers of the region.

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. Over time, sake utensils, such as cups have developed their own ritual significance which is still evident in modern Japan. Very beautiful sake cups are 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.