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Year of the Sheep themed Japanese Kutani sake cup

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    Posted 12 months ago

    (819 items)

    This little cup measures 3.125" in diameter x 1.125" high with .25" foot. The marks on the base appear to be non-generic Kutani, probably signed by the artist. The seller thought it is a tea cup, but it is a sake cup meant to be used only to celebrate the Year of the Sheep and then stored 12 years until the next such year.

    Very inexpensive, so I bought it as a research opportunity. It looks pretty new. The stamp in the upper right corner of the tomobako lid is Kutani yaki. Incredibly poor packing by the seller, no padding around the cup so it was just banging around in the tomobako and very little packing around the tomobako so it was also banging around in the packing box. I expected the worst but was relieved to find that both survived intact with no damage that I can see. I learn by handling things, so this is part of my learning experience for Japanese pottery...

    Not sure if an ear or horn is depicted on the sheep's head. Opinions welcome. I am now leaning more toward horn which would make this a ram...

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    1. Newfld Newfld, 12 months ago
      Love the sheep image, really nice
    2. kwqd kwqd, 12 months ago
      Thanks, Jenni!

      Thanks fortapache, Jenni, Kevin and Vynil33rpm!
    3. Ms.CrystalShip Ms.CrystalShip, 12 months ago
      That’s a Ram!
      See the horns?
      My star -sign..I love it, “cheap” or not....
    4. kwqd kwqd, 12 months ago
      Thanks for your comment, Eileen! I wrestled with the "horns". I couldn't decide if they were ears or horns.... I'll take your comment as a "horns" vote!
    5. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 12 months ago
      very nice ,,,
    6. kwqd kwqd, 12 months ago
      Thanks for taking a look Roycroftbooksfromme1 and bobby725!
    7. kwqd kwqd, 12 months ago
      Thanks for taking a look at my tea bowl aura!
    8. racer4four racer4four, 12 months ago
      I could collect Japanese pieces like this in a heartbeat, but where's the space?
      I am not sure if any other culture does handmade ceramics so well.
    9. kwqd kwqd, 12 months ago
      Thanks Karen! This is pretty small, even boxed, so you could probably collect some boxed Japanese tea related stuff and still be able to maintain a pathway to the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. My plan, anyway....
    10. rhineisfine rhineisfine, 11 months ago
      This is a sake cup, not a tea cup. This very shallow bowl style is called sakazuki and is favoured for special occasions. It depicts a sheep, and was probably made specifically to celebrate the Year of the Sheep (hitsuji), which fell in 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979 and so forth. There's a good chance it was used to toast the new year. Then it would have been put away for 12 years, until the next Year of the Sheep rolled around... and so forth. This is the standard practice with zodiacal pieces. Such items are frequently given as gifts.

      I can't read the handwritten kanji, but the large one on the centre of the lid looks an awful lot like the character for 'sakazuki' :) The newness of the tomobako should give you some sense of how old this is.
    11. kwqd kwqd, 10 months ago
      Belated thanks rhineisfine! I must have missed the email for your comment.

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