Sake cup with maki-e design of Oki-no-ishi ode (31-syllable Japanese ode)

Unknown19th century, Edo period

Tachibana Museum

Tachibana Museum

This is a single flat shaped sake cup with a design of offshore landscape and a Japanese poem using flat, raised and burnished lacquering technique on vermillion lacquer. It depicts the reefs applied though the use of Kirikane (cut gold), the splashing sea spray sprinkled with silver powder and the crests of waves with Shiro-mitsuda (oil coated decoration). It has shellfishes and mother-of-pearls inlay. The design is based on a Japanese poem. The Tachibana family keeps another huge sake cup in which the original poem, composed by Nijoin Sanuki, was seen. The poem was, "My sleeves have not a moment to dry, just like the reefs lying offshore that cannot be seen even at low tide, although no one knows about it". On the other hand, the poem in this sake cup was changed from “my sleeves” into “my love” which is in the alternative version. The first half of the poem can be seen in the interior surface of this sake cup. It displays the offshore reefs which represents the Chinese character “乃” with Ashi-de (designs mixed characters as pictorial elements with motifs inside). The last half of the poem is written on the exterior surface of the cup, and displays the design of waves and reefs extending from the interior surface to the exterior surface of the cup. Many of these kinds of sake cup that have motifs taken from a part of Japanese poems were produced in Kyoto. The thick wooden lacquer like this cup is a characteristic of Kyo-shikki (lacquerware produced in Kyoto). It seems that Tachibana family ordered this cup in Kyoto for regular use by miniaturizing the huge original cup. The original cup is one of the most valuable collections in Tachibana family.

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  • Title: Sake cup with maki-e design of Oki-no-ishi ode (31-syllable Japanese ode)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 19th century, Edo period
  • Physical Dimensions: w10.8 x h3.0 x d10.8
  • Type: Lacquerware

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