Japanese and Chinese antiques and art from B & C
Pair of Lacquered Wood Sleeve Casks for Sake, Signed

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Lacquer: Pre 1920: item # 475558

Please refer to our stock # 11E-135A39 when inquiring.

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B & C   Antiques
P. O. Box 291
Derby, CT 06418

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Pair of Lacquered Wood Sleeve Casks for Sake, Signed
$695 for Pair

These matched Japanese black and red lacquered sake containers in sleeve cask form (“sodedaru”) are decorated with the family crest (mon) which depicts a water plantain “(omodaka”) plant. Dating to the early 20th century, both are signed. Red lacquer trims the top, bottom and side edges of the container, and the mon on the front side is finished in silver lacquer. This color contrast is quite pleasing. A brass pouring spout rises from a red and black lacquer carved opening, and the faceted red and black lacquer stopper is attached to the sodedaru with a metal chain. A signature is carved into the bottom of each cask, and a single character mark is inscribed on the inside of each foot.

During a Shinto style wedding, the marriage is consecrated in the ritual of “san-san kudo,” where the bride and groom each drink from three sake cups three times. The families of the bride and groom would bring sake to the wedding ceremony in a matched pair of large black lacquered boxes like these. This style of lacquered wooden sake container, which is rectangular in shape with inset ends, is called a sleeve cask because its shape is reminiscent of a Japanese kimono sleeve. Although sodedaru were originally made for ceremonial use by the higher classes, by the middle of the 19th century these rugged lacquer utensils were made for use by everyone.

Design patterns based on the leaf and flowers of the water plantain appear to have become fashionable in the latter part of the Heian period, largely because the unusual shape of the leaf struck a popular chord of fancy. From the very beginning of the feudal period, even before the widespread adoption of family crests, many warriors displayed the design on their robes and armor – possibly because one of the plant’s alternative names was “shogunso,” or “victory plant.” By the end of the Edo period, the water plantain was widely used as a family crest.

CONDITION is excellent, with only some minor wear and one small chip on the wood on the back side of one foot.

DIMENSIONS: 16” (41 cm) long, 5” (13 cm) wide, approximately 14” (36 cm) high.

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