Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 14
March 6, 2012 (Tue) - May 13, 2012 (Sun)
In ancient times, Japanese sake (rice wine) was offered ceremonially to the gods as a medium connecting people to those gods. Later, sake became an essential part of important occasions where people gathered, such as seasonal events or family ceremonies. From this, sake soon developed into its present form as one of the pleasures of daily life.
To coincide with the cherry blossom viewing season, this exhibition features ceramic drinking vessels in the museum collection from the point of view of an imagined Japanese banquet, focusing on vessels from the early modern period (1573-1868).
On display are drinking implements used at banquets including sake bottles (tokkuri), ewers (choshi), and a variety of sake cups (hai, choko, and guinomi). Depending on factors such as occasion, setting and personal tastes, these vessels were created with originality and varied designs. The shape, coloration, degree of lavishness or subtlety, and other aspects of each vessel add character to the banquet table, providing a visual treat to accompany the enjoyment of sake.
In the history of Japanese ceramics, the early modern period overlaps with a time when, under Chinese and Korean influences, unique types of ceramics were produced across Japan. At the start of the 17th century, Korean potters began the production of porcelain in Arita, and overglaze enamel ceramics were developed in Kyoto. The influence of technological advancements spread to regional kilns, resulting in the creation of diverse types of ceramics throughout Japan.
An example of this development in the early modern period can be seen in the many types of tokkuri bottle on display in this exhibition.
Visitors are invited to feast with their eyes upon the various designs of these drinking vessels.