Japanese Meiji Square Gold Maki-e Sake Casket | Ceremonial Tokkuri

Sale price$385.00
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Dimensions: 6-0”h x 4-1/4” square

This beautiful sake casket, which was intended to assist in serving sake and decorated with black lacquer with maki-e, (The Japanese Art of Gold Sprinkling) decorated with two-tone used to depict the unfolding of the season and in this case a Japanese Weeping Willow tree, (Being a symbol of fertility, new life, and is powerfully symbolic), seen on all four sides and on a black lacquer ground. The top of the piece is finished in vermillion color lacquer with both metal-air and pouring spots in which one extends for pouring. Also represented on the top is also the Kamom, (family crest) which was originally initiated by nobles in the Heian period who wanted to enhance their ornaments by affixing Kamon to their possessions as a distinctive mark. This Crest represents Stars, (solidly filled circles in association with the Buddhist deities and have long been regarded as auspicious and capable of protecting the user of the object. Groups of constellations are most favored in crest design).

Japanese lacquer, urushi is made from the sap of the lacquer tree, (aka Japanese lacquer tree), providing a very tactile touch. When you hold a piece in your hand and turn it in the light all the various intricate techniques come alive, which is a very different experience from looking at it on a computer screen. Despite its size, it is very light in weight when empty.

This piece was made by a master craftsman, (Murose) who was dedicated to the practice and gifted with traditional lacquerware skills. The lacquerers always applied exactly the same level of attention to detail to all sizes and purposes of objects. Many items of lacquerware were never signed by their maker but this piece has its original signed box.

Condition: Excellent condition meaning that the piece has minor flaws. As pictured the piece has suffered some small chips on the top rim and base from use but is otherwise excellent. After years of use, the surface layer of the lacquer begins to show age in an irregular manner, resulting in the mottled red and black surface for which these objects are highly valued. The perfect object for the sake vessel and etiquette specialist.

NOTE: The spread of Buddhism from the ninth century inspired the production of a large number of decorative lacquered objects for temples and for the privileged classes. Japanese lacquer skills reached its peak as early as the twelfth century, at the end of the Heian period (794-1185). This skill was passed on from father to son and from master to apprentice. The fascination of Japanese lacquerware artists for the themes offered by nature, (fauna, flora, natural sites, seasons, stars) is equalled only by their talent to magnify them in a poetic, pure and incredibly refined style. Each plant, mountain, animal, or star has a meaning.