Meiji Bijutsu

Antique Meiji Period Kutani Sake Cup Set

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Pre 1920: Item # 1186051
Meiji Bijutsu
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Kita-aoyama 3-14-1
Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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This remarkable set of 5 Kutani sake cups is part of a series of mostly antique and vintage items that we recovered from the storehouse of a retired construction contractor. His house is located in the southern part of Kyoto, where buildings from the Edo and Meiji periods still stand. His son not being interested in inheriting his father's collection, we were asked to take them out, and we are now able to present them to you at very attractive prices.

Kutani porcelain has been produced for more than 300 years in the ancient Kaga province (current Ishikawa prefecture), located on the shore of the Sea of Japan. The first kiln was established in 1655 under the patronage of the leaders of the wealthy and powerful Maeda clan, which ruled over the Kaga domain during the Edo period (1615-1868). They were patrons of the arts and encouraged the production of a high quality porcelain with rich colors and refined motifs. Production was halted in 1730 but in 1810 news Kutani kilns were founded and the introduction of new techniques contributed to making Kutani ware a world renown craft.

Each hand decorated cup of this set bears the same motifs in astonishing details using the palette of traditional Kutani colors highlighted in gold; the thoroughness of the work is simply amazing and the level of technique very high. The set was probably made at the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912) by a master-craftsman.

Please let us know if you have some questions.

The set is in excellent condition. A few very minute enamel wears can be seen on the red and gold rim, at the foot of a couple of cups (see picture 4). Each cup is signed Kutani, at the foot.
Dimensions: each cup is about 6 x 2.6 cm (4.8 x 1.8 in); 27 g (0.9 oz)

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