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Wine Cups (Sakazuki)

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Catalog numbers E204 (top left), E203 (top right), E202 (center), E201 (bottom left), and E205 (bottom right), a collection of porcelain wine cups, or sakazuki. These wine cups was collected by Commodore Matthew C. Perry during his historic Japan Expedition (1853-1854) that opened Japan to the western world and established a lasting diplomatic, economic and cultural relationship between two Pacific Rim nations. Artifacts from Perry's Japan Expedition would become some of the founding objects of the Smithsonian Institution's anthropology collections.

From E204 card: "hemispherical cup on a low, bordered footring, in very thin white porcelain. decorated on the inside with an overglaze painting, mostly in black of a large carp and some plants. also a flour character inscription. blue fret design around the footring."

From E205 card: "hemispherical cup on a low footring, in very thin white porcelain. decorated inside with a volcano (? fuji-yama) in black and a dragon figure in gold at its base. these are in overglaze painting. also an inscription in black and red. fret design in blue around the footring."

See Chang-Su Houchins. 1995. Artifacts of Diplomacy: Smithsonian Collections from Commodore Matthew Perry's Japan Expedition (1853-1854). Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology, Number 37. P 56 - 57.

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