Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossom, which blooms across Japan between March and May each year. During cherry blossom season, people head out into local parks and gardens for a "hanami" (flower-viewing). During this period, public places take on a party-like atmosphere.
In ancient Japan, cherry blossom had great importance because it announced the rice-planting season and was used to divine the year's harvest. Its fleeting beauty was celebrated as a metaphor for life, and it was praised in numerous poems. The Japanese believed the sakura trees contained spirits, and made offerings to them with rice wine.
These cups are part of our Modern Languages Departmental Collection, and can currently be found displayed in Cheney School's main reception.