2024 Spring Exhibition “Soba-choko – cup of many designs-“ ※Closed until March 1st

2024 Spring Exhibition,

“Soba-choko – cup of many designs-“

March 2 (Saturday)-July 16 (Tuesday)    ※Closed until March 1st

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Osaka owns around 3,000 soba-choko cups, most of which are Ko-Imari, that is, Imari-ware pottery produced in the Edo period (1603-1868).

Imari-ware was mainly made in the Arita area, in Saga prefecture on the island of Kyushu, and shipped from the port of Imari to many places in Japan.

Soba-choko cups are thought to have originally been simply small bowls for side dishes but, when soba (buckwheat) noodles became popular in the Edo period, what we now call soba-choko cups began to be used to serve the soup for the noodles.

They were also used for drinking sake or tea and became a much-loved all-purpose everyday tableware.

Soetsu Yanagi, the founder of the mingei folk craft movement in Japan, praised the cups, saying, “Nothing is more elaborate than the countless designs of soba-choko cups.” They have a huge variety of pictures and patterns on them, which offer endless fascination.

Patterns were painted everywhere on the cups including body, rim, and base. The body and rim in particular enabled craftspeople to showcase their skill in painting on curved surfaces.

This spring show exhibits around a thousand soba-choko cups with various patterns including plants, animals, people, landscapes, auspicious motifs and geometrics.

Please enjoy the rich world of design depicted on these small vessels.