Past Exhibitions

Lacquered Sake Vessels
December 18, 2018 - January 27, 2019

Drinking sake, Japanese rice wine, has long been an integral part of the parties and banquets held in Japan to forget the old year and welcome in the new. Such occasions were also opportunities to bring out a variety of beautiful sake cups, decanters, stands, and other utensils.

Today sake might be served in vessels of glass, ceramic, metal, and other materials; however, not long ago the best sake serving wares were made of lightweight yet durable wood coated with lacquer, often decorated with intricate designs. Before people began entertaining in restaurants, wealthy Japanese families would host elaborate banquets for honored guests in their homes. The lacquered sake utensils would be carefully chosen or even specially commissioned to suit the time, place, and occasion of such an event.

This exhibition features various sake vessels made to serve the gods as Shinto offerings, to exchange in formal wedding vows, to take on picnics to the theater or to open-air flower viewing parties, or to enjoy with guests at home. Happy New Year, and Kanpai!

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