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Showing posts from October 21, 2018

Japanese Sake Holders, Cups & Flasks - Pottery and Porcelain Arts

Once you have lived in Japan, your world view changes.  It seems that Japanese sake should be simple enough; you buy a bottle of rice wine - sake, open it and pour it into a glass and drink it; right?  Well NO!  This blog will hopefully clarify the Japanese objects that surround sake and traditions of drinking sake in Japan. 

Haidai and Choko are simple Japanese terms for items used when drinking sake.  Haidai, is the most rare, and is only used during the most formal festivities.  An haidai is a sake cup holder.  When attending a formal occasion where you are sitting on the floor and served on a small tray (o-zen) with numerous dishes; a dish for soup (miso), a small dish for pickles, a dish for the fish, a dish for vegetables, perhaps a dish for a desert, and your tray is overflowing.  In this case you are sitting on the floor, the tray is full, which makes it difficult to find the diminutive sake cup among the plates and dishes.  Additionally, it is bad manners to…

Helen Burling Ottaway (1938 - 2000), Celebrating Halloween Art

Ottaway, a Virginia artist, was a aquatint etching master, and is the designated artist for Halloween this year.  Her etching, “Kitchen Window” reflects a cross between her fantasies and her nightmarish imagination.  The print draws upon the tradition of beast, monster and death. There are small bat-like beasties with human bodies that are swarming, and angels falling from the sky with horror, the angel wings are represented by leaves.  In the middle of the composition, red demons are demonstrating their sorcery.
Fantasies lurk; there is an elephant, a monster man, an angry dog, with many of the images intertwined.  In the lower section of the etching, there is a birdman with seed-pod eyes and a hook beak, and a human skull connects to a tree trunk.  The entire print is a symphony of damnation where wickedness lures souls away from paradise. The great modern French poet, Baudelaire catches the print’s mood in his poem:
Who but the Devil pulls our walking-strings! Abominations lure us…