Very Japanese in character, this delightful crimson coloured hyotan gourd was shaped while growing to make a convenient tokkuri (sake flask). This is an original piece from the Meiji period (1868-1912). The stopper is attached by a finely braided cord. When travelling, picnicking informally or just going out on the town, hyotan were worn suspended from the obi sash. Sometimes a cup was attached to the hanging cord, or a separate cup with its own netsuke was provided to make instant service possible. These were also used as water bottles or canteens.