Very Rare Antique Japanese Qing-Japan Friendship Association Lacquer Sake Cup
This is an antique Japanese sake cup, decorated with a pair of flags, one of which is the flag for Qing China, which collapsed in 1911. The back of the cup has the words "Japan-Qing Closeness and Friendship Association". The inside of the base has the words "Made by Shibata". This cup likely dates to the period between 1870 to 1895. 1871 was when Japan first signed the formal treaty with Qing China, establishing diplomatic relationship. After that there was a large number of students who visited Japan to study. 1895 was when Japan invaded Korea and China and beat China - the beginning of a tense and hostile relationship. I can't find any reference to this association, but it was likely something organized to help promote "friendship" between the two groups.
This is the first instance of me seeing the Qing dragon flag on a cup of any type - and the cup dates to a very early period. Given the later hostile relationship between the two countries, this is a very interesting historical piece that harkens back to a slightly more friendly period. The box says "Hinomaru Cup" on the lid and the same on the side of the box. It also comes with a pouch for the cup. The underside of the lid has a label for the shop that likely sold the cup - located in Tokyo.
Condition: Mint. The box has some wear and tear on the surface
Size: 3.25" across