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What is this tiny double-walled china dish for? Answered

I bought this at a junk store, and I'm totally baffled as to it's purpose. The small hole in the bottom opens into a small cavity, which is connected to that spout thing on the side. The majoriy of the botton cyliner apears to be hollow.



Best Answer 8 years ago

I agree in part with Burf, but the device is a whistle (try it) not a steam vent.


.  I'm certainly no expert on sake cups, but his "whistle just to be whistling" explanation sounds pretty bogus to me. I'm much more inclined to believe Re-design's "whistle for a waiter" theory (or as part of some serious ceremony, eg, scaring away dragons).

I have to agree....sucking in THAT much air while in the process of drinking will get you choking for sure.   If he'd demonstrated that with liquid in there, I would be more inclinde to believe it...but I doubt it would be that loud "during" the taking of a drink.

I wouldn't know why, so I'll go with you & Re' there.


OMG thank you so much! This is awesome!

Maybe the whistle is so that when you cup is empty, you whistle and they know to bring you more sake!

This little cup is for serving hot sake. The sake is served very hot. When you drink it, you actually slurp it while sucking the air in through the built in straw in the cup. I bout a set of these in Japan in the 1970 and that is what the Japanese shop keeper told me. The accompanying sake pitches is usually 6 sided and has a small sold bird at the top. When pouring the sake, the bird chirps. Usually the full set contains five or six cups. The cups for cold sake are more straight sided and do not have the cooling whistling feature - but of course, the serving container still is configured with the chirping bird. I have never seen a bird that was not fired gold.

This is definitely a whistle... I have a tea set from Japan (made in the fifties) that has an almost identical device on it... If you sip the tea (or sake) so that the fluid aerosolizes over the hole you get a pleasant birdlike chirping sound.


I have been looking for similar devices for YEARS! This is the first time I have come across anything similar.

040-2005-12-18 Whistling Tea Cup.JPG

Are stupid! Haha! This is a wine vessel used. I live in China.

This is just a comment i saw it on the food channel and it is a whistle and a cup to alert the servers ask the food channel.

I'm guessing it's part of a two piece setup where the under part has water in it that is being warmed and when the water gets hot enough, the whistle blows. Not unlike a steam kettle.

seriously? its a sake cup. have you never had sake? its served hot genius! 


8 years ago

What is a junk store?!?!?!?

Althought i come from china,but i really don't know what it is~

I have no idea but I also want to know.  It's so odd.

Its a whistle, AngryRedhead! Look at the video in the comments here, its hilarious!

I know, I know!  I'm also very excited to know what it is.  My SO and I were staring at your pictures last night without a clue as to what it was.  I think this question should be featured if only because it's such a neat thing.

I would have never knew it was a whistle, if it weren't for instructables! Now I am annoying everyone in my family with the little teacup whistle...

Ha!  I think someone deserves a Best Answer.  NOT ME! but someone who actually answered this riddle.  :-P

My only theory is that its some kind of steam-heated condiment dish. Perhaps the bottoms are submerged in boiling water, and the spouts vents the steam. I would bet it was designed for some kind oriental sushi thing. A 25 cent mystery!

maybe it is just a devise made to confuse people for years to come "why why why.  if i were to guess maybe since there is ussually a saucer under tea cups ... btw it looks more like a tea cup than for sake. so with that in mind if your drinking hot tea any backwash or spill would go down that lip and into the plate. all i know for sure is i dont sea any reason to put a whistle on a tea cup. well other than ussing it to aleart a most likely unhappy waiter that your teacup is empty.

Maybe the whistle is like the whistle on a tea kettle.  TooT TooT I'm ready now!  Mmmm, I love hot sake.

I think this question should be disqualified.  There is way too much information given in the questions, there are too many photos and they are too clear.  Also the diagrammatic section of the item in question just really goes over the bounds of proper question Obfuscation. 

And what about his use of the caps key and proper sentences and verbs.  Verbs were banned last year.

Really nice example of a good question!

Yes, I will delete the question immediately! jk


8 years ago

That's a saki or tea cup. You set the cup in a dish or pan of water to keep your saki or tea and the cup warm. And you're right about the vent being a steam vent.