Sake glass

Years ago I saw beautiful ancient glass from Persia and Western Asia amongst items from the Treasure of Shosoin, very carefully preserved since Nara was the capital of Japan, and the last stop on the Silk Road. Fast forward, Tsuji Seimei (1927-2008) was a potter and collector (since the age of 5!), who became fascinated by the world of glass. The Suntory Museum (Tokyo) currently exhibits part of his collection for a few more days. The production of glass vessels in Japan only began in the mid 17th century, under the influence of European imported glass. Japanese craftsmen subsequently developed superior skills : a distinctive warmth and softness, according to Tsuji Seimei. Blown glass production is believed to have started in the Nagasaki area, then the only port open to foreign trade. Requiring other skills, cut glass (kiriko) production started a bit later in Japan, in the 19th century, in Edo and Satsuma (today Kagoshima). Tsuji Seimei had a preference for colorless transparent glass, showing the ability of Japanese artisans to draw out glitter from this material, while achieving a tender, soft feel…please pardon my poor talent as a photographer.

 

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