Some items that people collect are all about their value, which is usually measured in the price that they sold for. Jewelry, antiques, fine art, vintage automobiles — the prize in any one collection is usually the most expensive item.
This piece has the hallmarks to be a star in any collection. It is functional: its’ rectangular shape is gently curved in the middle to provide a good resting place for the tips of your chopsticks. It is iconic. Its’ background color is the pure celadon green so prized in Asian ceramics. It features two of Japan’s best known symbols, the cherry blossom and the scarlet maple leaf. Together they demonstrate the progression of spring through summer into fall, starting with the five-petaled sakura or cherry blossom on the left, moving to the cascading single petals in the center, and ending with the flaming maple leaf on the right. A few stray petals on the far right give the design an asymmetrical kind of edge. This piece even has a touch of the gold embellishment that often mark high-end hashioki.
And it cost 100 yen, or about one US dollar, in a Daiso store — a store where almost everything costs 100 yen — in Kyoto, Japan.