Posted 3 years ago
This gourd is about 2" in diameter. It is filled with seeds and can be shaken like a rattle. I believe the writing to be Japanese. I learned the katakana alphabet when I lived in Japan in the 70s but not the hiragana alphabet. I recognize a couple of katakana characters. My guess when I found this in a thrift shop a few years ago was that it might be a learning toy for a child to teach them to read, maybe part of a set. I've never confirmed this, though. I paid $.25 for it. Maybe someone on CW will know what it is.
I did find some examples of similar Chinese gourds here:
"Lanzhou residents are known for their ingenuity. They have created some unique art forms such as the gourd carving. Since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 A.D.), people have used needles to etch all kinds of images onto the surface of the gourd, including people, landscapes, flowers and other patterns, usually accompanied by poems or calligraphy. Tourists who visit Lanzhou do not leave without holding a carved gourd in hand."
Maybe it is a Chinese touristy thing....