Urushi Lacquer Tokkuri

Japanese Vintage Negoro Red Lacquer Sake Flask | Lacquered Tokkuri Casket



Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 4-0”h x 4-5/8”w x 11-3/8” L

Offered is a large, deep red lacquer, rectangular, Urushi spouted sake flask. The box has a separate and beautifully fashioned lid with a small pull-knob. The shallow lacquered depression with hole facilitates pouring. Each corner of the box shows beautiful doweling and joinery work. The interior and lid are fully lacquered in black. 

In Japan, the most basic etiquette rule of serving sake is known as o-shaku. The main tenant of o-shaku is that it is considered most polite to pour sake for others but never directly for yourself. This little ritual of pouring for others creates an atmosphere of social interaction and bonding. Large sake boxes are used by the host and are not meant to be used by the individual for they are a symbol of prosperity. In using this specific vessel, the server is supposed to pour from a corner to each guest. In the past, the wooden serving box was said to complement the traditionally brewed sake, as it is brewed in a wooden cask. Serving flasks of this type are meant to impress guests and said to enhance the flavor and tastes more delicious depending on the specific wood employed, (i.e. cedar tokkuri complimenting cedar cask sake).

Vintage Condition: Very Good condition for its age with slight surface wear, and the lid is slightly warped but fits nicely, which is typically seen on most surfaces on older serving pieces. Beautifully aged patina with high sheen and depth of finish which retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage is noted.

NOTE: During the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, Zen Buddhists and Daimyo warlords collected objects from the Song and Yuan periods in China. This material, called Karamono, inspired Japanese craftsmen to produce finely lacquered wooden objects. The most notable type, Negoro ware, has a layer of vermillion lacquer over a base coat of iron black. The name derives from Negoroji, a Buddhist temple where the technique was developed and these wares were first made for everyday and ritual purposes. After years of use, the surface layer of the vermillion wears away in an irregular manner, resulting in the mottled red and black surface for which these objects are highly valued. Simple distinctive sake flasks and guinomi would have been used in a temple or elite residence.