Bought this box for .75 and was wondering if anybody here can interpret the writing (Chinese/Japanese - not sure which), and any ideas what they may be used for. I thought maybe chopstick rests.
I think they are chop stick holders.....but why 5? The ram for Year of the ram...
just a guess....but....
What are they? Adorable! That's what! :)
There is a city in China that legend says became prosperous when five Gods came to the city, riding on five rams with rice sheaths in their mouths and left their blessing.
I don't know if this has any significance to that set of five rams or not. Just found it on a google.
Here is a link that might be useful: Guangzhou
Yes... chopstick stands, and yes... from China. Top three characters mean "clear water ware". The next line just says "east city clear water ware (something) same (something) set". The box just says "baby sheep" "quantity 5"
Sorry... Chinese uses more characters not commonly used in Japanese :-)
I forgot to answer :-) 5 in a set is very common. 4 for 4 diners, and 1 for the saibashi/service/community chopsticks used to serve oneself from a community dish.
I wondered why there were so often 5. (I recently served a Japanese luncheon for 6 and found that very frustrating...)
And also how people were supposed to serve themselves from community bowls without using their own chopsticks --
Now if only I could learn how to use chopsticks LOL.
Thanks for the input.
You seldom find sets of four in Japan either, because four there is an unlucky number. If one would go into a pottery shop and pick up four cups, the proprietor would often throw in the fifth cup gratis. My mother, who was a pottery buff did this often in the little village where we lived until she found out that the vendor was giving his ware away out of fear and then she felt badly. From then on out, she bought and paid for five. ;-)
Among family and friends, it's common to just use the back end of your chopsticks to take food from a community dish, but then again, if it's just family or close friends, you normally wouldn't set out chopstick rests anyway.
Callioope is also correct. 4 and 9 are very unlucky numbers in Japan. Even in tall buildings you will often go from floor 3 to floor 5. Not so in China, so I don't think that has anything to do with the set count, but an interesting anecdote nonetheless, hu. :-)
Right........the reason I threw that in, is that we get a lot of ?s about Oriental makers marks on things like tea sets, and whether it's imported or meant for the occidental trade. They're usually Japanese if they're older. So I thought I'd pass that along since it's come up on threads before. If it's in a set of four, and you know its a complete set, it probably is. If it's a complete set of five, it probably isn't and somebody picked it up offshore.
Calliope - well put.