A charming Japanese pottery water dropper, suiteki, used by scholars to moisten the solid sumi ink for use in calligraphy or pictures. The suiteki measures 1.6" long by 1.3" wide by .9" thick. It is in very fine condition with one small chip on the bottom edge and the bottom of the piece does show normal surface wear from usage. We date the piece to the mid Meiji period, circa 1880s-90s.
The top of the suiteki has a relief design of a Japanese crane in flight with its legs streaming out behind it. In Japan, the crane or tsuru, is a national treasure. It is the symbol of longevity and good luck because it was thought to have a life span of a thousand years. There is a Japanese idiom that says, “tsuru no hito koe“, which literally translates as, “one word from the crane’, meaning the “voice of authority”, the one who has the final word that isn’t challenged. That is how high the crane is regarded, no one questions his opinions.