Set of two (2) small porcelain Shinto religious sake flasks (tokkuri in Japanese) featuring a patterned Japanese family crest (kamon) on the body. Small flasks such as these are commonly used for ceremonial offerings upon Shinto (native religion of Japan) shrines. These altar flasks were made during the mid to late Japanese Showa period (1926-1989) and are in good condition with no chips or cracks though the flasks have scratches and marks from handling and a darkened patina of age. There are also some pen marks on the bottom of one of the flasks. The flasks were acquired in the beautiful and historic city of Shizuoka, Japan near the foot of Mt. Fuji. Please read below to learn more about sake as well as Japan’s native religion, Shinto. Click here to see more sake flasks!
Height: 2.7 inches (7.0 centimeters)
Weight (combined): 3.3 ounces (94 grams)
More about Japanese sake and sake utensils
Sake has long been an important part of Japanese culture. In the past, sake was considered a very special item, reserved for only the most important occasions, such as weddings, birth celebrations and other auspicious events. Sake was considered a sacred drink, and accordingly the first glass poured was always offered to the gods before the remainder could be shared among the celebrants. Sake can be served either warm or cold and special sake flasks are used to both prepare and dispense this unique Japanese drink. Sake is warmed either by immersing the flask (already filled with sake of course) into warm water until the desired temperature is reached or through the use of a special sake kettle called a choshi. The latter method however, though common in old Japan, is today usually reserved for ceremonial events only. Over time, sake utensils, such as cups have developed their own ritual significance which is still evident in modern Japan. For example, it is today common at Japanese engagement parties for the man and woman to exchange sake cups as a sign of their mutual intent to marry. Very beautiful sake cups are also given away to celebrate the birth of a child, as these cherished items are considered symbolic of the significance of the new parent-child relationship. Though normally small in size, sake cups and flasks have long been used in Japan as a medium for the expression of art and calligraphy. Hand-painted cups and flasks are highly collectable both within and outside Japan and are eagerly sought after by collectors who value their utilitarian nature and artistic splendor.
More about the Shinto religion
Shinto is one of the two major religions of Japan (the other is Buddhism). Shinto is often considered to be the native religion of Japan, and is as old as Japan itself. The name Shinto means “the way of the gods.” Shinto is a pantheistic religion, in which many thousands of major and minor gods are thought to exist. The Japanese have built thousands of shrines (jinja) throughout the country to honor and worship these gods. Some shrines are huge and are devoted to important deities. Other shrines are small and may be easily missed when strolling along roads in the countryside.
Shinto gods are called kami. Kami are thought to have influence on human affairs, and for this reason many Japanese make regular pilgrimage to community shrines in order to offer prayers to local kami. The act of prayer involves approaching the shrine structure, passing through the gate-like torii, cleansing the hands and mouth with water and possibly ascending stairs to the main entrance of the shrine. Usually without entering the shrine the worshipper will throw some coins into a stone or wooden collection box and then rattle the suzu bell which is at the top of a long hemp rope. The worshiper grabs hold of the rope and shakes it back and forth causing the copper bell at the top to rattle. This is thought to get the attention of the shrine god. The worshipper then bows twice, claps his or her hands twice and then bows again. In addition, the worshipper may clasp their hands together in silent prayer. Shintoism and Buddhism have managed to find a comfortable coexistence in Japan. Evidence of this harmonious relationship is found in the fact that that most Japanese are married in a Shinto shrine, but buried by a Buddhist priest.
item code: R1S5-0004482
ship code: L1650