A Japanese Gourd Hyotan Sake Flask (19th century)

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Hyotan Sake Bottle (Meiji Period)

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Size: 27.5cm (11″) tall
Code: ujam003
Era: Meiji Period (1868-1912)
Location: Tokyo Office


Very Japanese in character, this delightful crimson coloured hyotan gourd was shaped while growing to make a convenient tokkuri (sake flask). This is an original piece from the Meiji period (1868-1912).
Note the lovely iron floral ring decoration at the top opening of the bottle to hold the stopper when not in use. This shows that it was owned by a person of wealth and stature, quite possibly from the Samurai class. Most other hyotan do not have such detail. The stopper is attached by a finely braided cord.
When travelling, picnicking informally or just going out on the town, hyotan were worn suspended from the obi sash. Sometimes a cup was attached to the hanging cord, or a separate cup with its own netsuke was provided to make instant service possible. These were also used as water bottles or canteens.
Old hyotan such as this one are valued by Japanese connoisseurs, and large collections of them have been formed. (See “Sake in Japan’s Arts and Crafts” by F. Karel Wiest, Arts of Asia, November/December 1980.)
It remains in excellent condition with no cracking or peeling. A thoughtful gift for a sake or wine lover and a wonderful conversation piece with friends.

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Japanese Hyotan Sake Flask (Meiji Period)
Hyotan Sake Bottle (Meiji Period)
Hyotan Sake Bottle (Meiji Period)
Hyotan Sake Bottle (Meiji Period)