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A pair of rare Koto-yaki sake flasks decorated with florals and dating from the 19th century. Written on the side is the kiln name Koto (East Lake). Each piece is roughly 6 inches (15 cm) tall and in fine condition but for a chip on the inside of the foot ring of one.
Koto ware is one of those rare and highly prized ceramics of low production, once the official kiln of the Ii clan in Hikone on the Eastern Shores of Lake Biwa, its production rand from the early to late 19th century. Under Ii Naosuke, the famous Bakumatsu Statesman, the kiln was expanded both in size and repertoire, and he brought in potters from all over Japan to teach the ways of various styles. With the assassination of Naosuke and the fall of the Shogunate in 1867 the kiln was privatized. It closed about 1895, and was known for superb quality and craftsmanship covering Sometsuke, Aka-e,Kinsai, Celadon and Ninsei.