Bronze water-dropper (suiteki) representing a toad.
In the Japanese bestiary, the toad has a special place, carrying positive values. Both the toad and the frog, called kaeru (蛙) return every year and no matter how far away from the pond they were born. The word kaeru is a synonym for “coming home”. It is the protective animal for travelers and the symbol of hospitality. Its effigy is present on door hammers or gongs placed at the entrance of some houses and hotels. The toad also has the power to attract wealth. This fact dates back to the time of feudal Japan, when tax collectors were recognizable by the netsuke in the shape of a toad or frog that they wore on their belt.
The suiteki is a small container used to hold the water that is added to the ink stone during the grinding of the ink stick, used for calligraphy. The suiteki has two small holes for water and air, and is designed so that only a few drops of water can fall at a time.
Japan – Edo Period (1603-1868)
Height : 1.8 in. (4.5 cm) – Width 3.3 in. (8.5 cm) – Depth : 2.9 in. (7.5 cm)