This Japanese antique Imari porcelain rare pair of soba-choko cups are over 150 years old, dating to the early 19th-century portion of the Edo period. While most think of the Soba cup as for buckwheat noodle, according to the interpreted excerpted information from a Japanese blog, quote:
Inoguchi also Choko or Choco is a small bowl used in Japan. Generally of small size for drinking vessel or cup also used for buckwheat noodles or the Sobatsuyu container for attaching juice buckwheat and what Inoguchi refers to. However, the Edo era from the mid- Liquor begun to be used as a
vessel for and Sobakiri, at present, this is its main usage. It is called Inoguchi for liquor. It should also be noted, is to be derived from the etymology of ‘Choco’ which means a vessel of water and liquor in Fujian sound or Korean sound ‘鍾瓯’Chok Cheonggu’.
Soba cups are smaller than a tea bowl and larger than a sake cup, The nice old Imari soba- Inoguchi- Choco cup is decorated in sometsuki or underglaze blue on fine white porcelain. It is finely painted with great brush strokes of pine leaves, and verticle lines. Around the bottom are pictures of bowls with chopsticks in them. The small groups of dots are called chibu -or tsubu. On the inside rim are criss-cross lines. They are in very excellent condition for their age, no cracks, chips or stains. It is my understanding that sets of old or antique soba cups are harder to find for example than teacups, according to a lady I know who is very knowledgeable in Japanese wares.
Size: Diameter 3.1 inches or 7.87 cm, Height 2.5 inches or 6.35 cm
Just Fyi, the word "Rare" has a much bigger definition than most might think. For example,
1. (of a thing) not found in large numbers and consequently of interest OR value. synonyms: unusual, recherché, uncommon, unfamiliar, atypical, singular "rare stamps"
2. unusually good or remarkable. synonyms: exceptional, outstanding, unparalleled, peerless, matchless, unique, unrivaled, inimitable, beyond compare, without equal, second to none, unsurpassed; and more....
Hizen is a name of the province in the Edo period which included present-day Saga and Nagasaki prefectures. Imari porcelain 伊万里焼 is the name for Japanese porcelain wares made in the town of Arita, in the former Hizen Province, northwestern Kyūshū. They were exported to Europe extensively from the port of Imari, Saga, between the second half of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century. The Japanese, as well as Europeans, called them Imari. In Japanese, these porcelains are also known as Arita-yaki 有田焼. Imari was the trans-shipment port for Arita wares. There are many styles including Nabeshima and Kakiemon. It was the kilns at Arita which formed the heart of the Japanese porcelain industry. Though sophisticated wares in authentic Japanese styles were being made at Arita for the fastidious home market, European–style designations of Arita porcelain were formed after blue and white kraak porcelains, imitating Chinese underglaze blue-and-white wares, or made use of enamel colors over underglazes of cobalt blue and iron red. The ware often used copious gilding, sometimes with spare isolated sprigged vignettes, but often densely patterned in compartments.
Imari or Arita porcelain has been continually produced up through the present day.
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