What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

Question Pair Of Antique Bronze Japanese Vase/Urns With Characters - Need Help

mds308

Kouhai
Joined
11 Nov 2020
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
I need help reading the characters on this pair of vases. I hope these weren't used for ashes. They are empty. I purchased them from an antique shop that liquidated their inventory through a local auction about 15 years ago. The taller vase measures 27cm tall and the shorter one is 23cm tall. What do the applied symbols mean and please translate the back of each vase?

Thank you kindly for your help.

IMG_1007.JPG

IMG_1008.JPG


Taller vase

IMG_1010.JPG


Smaller Vase
 

Uncle Frank

SECURITY
Admin
Joined
21 May 2003
Messages
10,978
Reaction score
1,015
The round symbols on the top photos are family crests or kamons. From what I Googled , it seems they can be for more then one family name and vary a bit in design. It seems they are used in advertising and designs to put on items in todays world. Hopefully our experts can give you more info.
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
6 Mar 2003
Messages
3,471
Reaction score
981
大正十四年九月吉日 = September 1925

本所区中横町 = Honjo-ku Nakayokocho which is an old district of Tokyo now part of Sumida Ward.

The set of four characters looks like a name but I can't find one of the kanji. I'll leave it for the real experts to help.
 

mds308

Kouhai
Joined
11 Nov 2020
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
Thank you mdchachi. Did these serve a purpose or ornamental?
 

mds308

Kouhai
Joined
11 Nov 2020
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
Here's a picture of the top and bottom. Both have the same construction and both would not have a water tight integrity (they'd leak).
The bases appear to be copper.

IMG_1041.JPG
IMG_1040.JPG
 

Majestic

先輩
Joined
12 Oct 2013
Messages
2,094
Reaction score
1,083
Actually, maybe not a funerary urn. I don't know what they are. The date says "lucky/auspicious day in September, 1925", which would not be a date you would write on a funerary urn. Maybe I'm 180 degrees wrong, and they are trophies of some sort.

I couldn't find that one kanji either. I guess they are two given names on the urns, but... I'm stumped.
 

Uncle Frank

SECURITY
Admin
Joined
21 May 2003
Messages
10,978
Reaction score
1,015
The tops look like a sake storage bottle called bizen. Maybe the kamons are for well known families that produce sake? I would think they cost a fortune to make them like these ones though. I've been through a 1000 different images on Google and found nothing identical to these.
 

mds308

Kouhai
Joined
11 Nov 2020
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
The tops look like a sake storage bottle called bizen. Maybe the kamons are for well known families that produce sake?

Like I mentioned in my last post, these will not hold a liquid. I can push air through the bases. Liquid would pass through and there'd be no sake left to drink. When I bought them there was dirt, potpourri, dead bugs and cigarette butts inside. Not a ml of sake to be found🍸🙄.

I appreciate all the help. Thank you.
 

Majestic

先輩
Joined
12 Oct 2013
Messages
2,094
Reaction score
1,083
The kamon (family crests) made me immediately think of urns for ashes, but the markings don't show anything that might further identify it as that kind of urn. And the "吉日" (lucky day) makes me think its definitely not an urn. I would also expect to see a posthumous buddhist name on the urn (a long, maybe 7-character name) if it was meant to hold ashes.

The address on the big urn
本所区中横町會 Honjo-ku, Nakayoko town association
is a local community association, still common in towns and neighborhoods in Japan. So this, too, makes me think its not a funeral urn. Plus, it seems to be a crude engraving, as if it were done by an amateur. So I'm thinking it is a trophy for a local event.

The four kanji on the taller vase are a mystery. Names? Nicknames?
相亀 Aikame?
音壹榮 Shōei?
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
6 Mar 2003
Messages
3,471
Reaction score
981
I think they are vases. Although I don't see any quite like this online, bronze vases seem to have been fairly common in that era. And since Japanese graves often have family crests on them I would guess they are related to the family's ancestors. Graves have flower vases on them so it's possible they could have been used for that purpose but I'm guessing not since they would risk getting stolen. Maybe it was used in the home near the butsudan. Or perhaps in the tokonoma.
According to EDICT 吉日 isn't always used to mean "lucky day." It can be just a general way to obscure the date.
 

mds308

Kouhai
Joined
11 Nov 2020
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
The address on the big urn
本所区中横町會 Honjo-ku, Nakayoko town association
The big urn has only the 4 characters. The smaller urn has the two longer group of characters.
Just in case there is any confusion. Thanks again.
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Moderator
Joined
22 Feb 2008
Messages
16,809
Reaction score
3,094
Indeed 吉日 can be used to refers to "a day", but it's only used for lucky events, i.e., it's never used for funeral or something, as Majestic-san pointed out.

The lower left kanji on the big one doesn't exist. I think it could be a miswriting of 饐, 韻 or like that.

I have no idea about what those are for, but it might have something to do with a festival or shrine things, just in my impression.
 

mds308

Kouhai
Joined
11 Nov 2020
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
Thank you for all your help Toritoribe. Could there be a wedding connection? Perhaps the larger vase represents the man's family and the smaller vase represents the woman's family? I'm just shooting in the dark.
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Moderator
Joined
22 Feb 2008
Messages
16,809
Reaction score
3,094
Well, I don't think so because of the inscription "Honjo-ku, Nakayoko town association". It doesn't seem to me to be related to wedding things.
 
Top Bottom