Shimizu Bizan, red and gold sake-cups with three auspicious characters

Three characters of “fuku-roku-ju (福 禄 寿)”, the figure of “crane”, and the “tortoise shell pattern” on the outside are elaborately drawn. Both the crane and the tortoise shell pattern are related to “fuku-roku-ju”, who is a god of the Seven Lucky Gods, and together with the brightness of “happiness” is expressed in gold, and the wish for “longevity” is well expressed by them on a small vessel.

size: caliber about 5.6 cm, height about 3.1 cm

Originally, “fuku-roku-ju” is one of the Seven Lucky Gods that have been worshiped by people since ancient times, but “fuku (福)” means happiness, “roku (禄)” means status, and “ju” (寿) means longevity. Because of this, it is said that the first two characters expressed “happiness” and the last “ju” expressed longevity, so it was used like a pattern in celebration vessels.

And since “crane” and “tortoise”, which are told that they were taken by the god “fuku-roku-ju”, also mean longevity, the crane is drawn in the center and the tortoise shell pattern is drawn on the side to decorate it gorgeously.

The back name is written as “九谷kutani / 美山Bizan”, and “美山造made by Bizan” is also written on the back of the lid of the wooden box.

creator of the work

Shimizu Bizan 清水 美山  born in 1861), and died in 1931.

Shimizu Bizan learned Japanese-style paintings, and porcelain paintings from Kasama Shuseki (笠間秀石). After that, he started the porcelain painting business in Kanazawa, and established various techniques and painting styles. So he was called a master craftsman in Kanazawa kutani.

He was especially good at a technique of delicate painting “mori-kin” (painting gold many times to make it look like it’s swelling), and became one of the representatives of “Japan kutani”, which caused a worldwide boom in the Meiji period.