Antique wooden Japanese sake keg (taru). Old kegs such as this were once used in Japan to store fluids such as soy sauce and sake. The kegs commonly include a handle and spout and were typically made of wood from the Japanese suginoki tree which is known as Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria) in the west. Suginoki is native only to Japan and has long been a favored wood for the making of high-quality cabinetry and woodcraft. Taru flasks were assembled without the use of adhesive and were made watertight through tight-fitting joints bound with copper bands or interwoven strips of bamboo. The wooden slats which form the body of the keg may display longitudinal or cross-cut grain patterns (called masame and itame respectively) though the itame style is most common. Taru are typically finished with a light layer of wax or persimmon juice.
About the Listed Item
The old taru sake keg offered here, though of fine quality, has nevertheless seen its share of use and today is in poor condition and suitable only as a display piece. The keg is made of Japanese cedar cut in the less commonly seen (in sake kegs at least) masame style, which shows off the wood’s tight, straight grain pattern. The keg is held together with woven strips of dried bamboo which are a bit loose and can come loose so careful handling is necessary. Japanese writing is carved into the side and bottom of the keg. This item dates from the late 19th or early 20th century and was acquired in this historic city of Shizuoka, Japan very near the foot of Mt. Fuji.
Height (from base to top of handle): 12.1 inches (31.0 centimeters)
Diameter (across top of keg): 6.0 inches (15.5 centimeters)
Weight: 11.0 ounces (313 grams)
Please be sure to note the shipping cost for this sake large wooden flask. Shipment is via international Express Mail Service (EMS) which included a tracking number and insurance.
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.
item code: R2S7-0004617
ship code: B or appropriate