Important Cultural PropertyFood/beverage warming vessel

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  • 1 piece
  • Bronze
  • Total H15.9 aperture D12.2
  • Asuka period/7th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-119

 A shoto is a kind of pot used in ancient China for cooking rice or heating liquor, which spread to the Korean Peninsula and later to Japan. Shoto are usually tripodal round pots with a spout and a long handle, but this one has a handle that is bent in the middle. This kind of shoto can be seen after the period when China was divided between the Northern Dynasties and the Southern Dynasties. Shoto are used by heating the contents with a fire built inside the three legs and pouring the heated content by tilting the pot, making a rather long handle convenient.
As for this shoto, the spout, the three legs and the handle were cast-soldered to the body and the handle seems to have been cast-soldered in the middle as well. The surface of the upper half of the handle is significantly worn out, which indicates that it was used very frequently in the past.
Judging from its style, it is likely to be a rare example of a shoto produced in Japan. From the forms of every part, it is highly possible that this shoto was produced in the era after the Asuka period (from the end of the sixth century to the first half of the seventh century).
In its current condition, a lacquer-like material coats the entire surface rather thickly, but when this coat was applied has not been identified.