Pottery and glass liquor bottles with labels, from left to right:
large-- (16.5 cm x 12.7 cm) medicinal wine (Wing Lee Wai company),
large-- (15.2 cm x 12.6 cm) Ng Ka Py distilled spirits (Wing Lee Wai company),
large-- (16.5 cm x 12.7 cm) Mui Kwe Lu distilled spirits (Wing Lee Wai Company),
large-- (15.2 cm x 12.6 cm) Glass Ng Ka Pay distilled spirits (Wing Fung Hong Company),
large-- (17.0 cm x 12.3 cm) Ng Ka Py Distilled spirits (Wing Lee Wai Company),
large-- (17.3 cm x 12.3 cm) Wing Mau Kue Medicinal wine (Wing Mau Kou),
large-- (15.3 cm x 12.0 cm) Ng Ka Pi (Yuen Fung Yuck company),
medium-- (11.5 cm x 9.5 cm) liquor (Wing Fung Hong company),
small-- (9.1 cm x 7.0 cm) medicinal wine (Wing Lee Wai company),
small-- (9.5 cm x 7.8 cm) liquor (Kie Fung Yuk company),
small-- (9.0 cm x 7.5 cm) Ng Ka Py distilled spirits 90 proof (Wing Lee Wai company).
The large medicinal wine bottle, first on the left in the top picture above, showing the front label-- pair of crane design Tientsin & Hong Kong, "ALL KINDS OF BEST LIQUORS" , followed by the identification label on the same bottle -- "WAI SANG MEDICINAL WINE" with instructions to be taken with meals daily.
The large Ng Ka Py distilled spirits bottle, front label -- pair of crane design Hong Kong-- the small label under the main label reads "Net Contents 3/4 quart, Alcoholic Contents 96 proof" followed by the Chinese label side of the same bottle.
The identification label on the large Ng Ka Py bottle -- "CHINESE DISTILLED SPIRITS BLENDED BY WING LEE WAI, AT KA WO DISTILLERY HONG KONG. Net Contents 3/4 quart, Alcoholic Contents 96 proof. Imported by MAY CHOW CO. San Francisco, Cal." This illustration shows clearly the famous embossing on many of these bottles from the 20th century -- "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS SALE OR RE-USE OF THIS BOTTLE".
The large MUI KWE LU bottle-- WING LEE WAI, TIENTSIN & HONGKONG. The small label indicates 4/5 quart 90 proof imported by WAH SHANG CO., San Francisco, Cal. There is an interesting article at Chinese Wines that mentions Mui Kua Lu as an "essence of roses" flavoured wine and contains information on
Chinese wines--their history, preparation and use.
The smaller bottles have similar lables and partial labels depending on the company.
From the labels 3 different products marketed in these pottery bottles can be identified. One is a medicinal wine and the other two are distilled liquors 90 - 96 proof. There may be others.
On some bottles the "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS" embossing also includes a bottle size.
Three liquor bottles from the 19th century or early 20th century. The glazes on these bottles are fancy and they do not bear the "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS" embossing.
This bottle does not have the "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS" embossing and has been
painted. There are no characters or other identification on the bottom.
This is another plain brown liquor bottle, 17 cm tall, 19th Century, lacking the "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS" embossing. There are characters on the bottom of the bottle.
Showing the characters on the base (Wing Lee Wai--Tientsin and Hong Kong)---
Here is a liquor bottle with a base I've never seen before-- characters and the word "CHINA". It has the "Federal Law Forbids" embossing but
very weak under glaze. It came from eastern USA.
This is a very old liquor bottle, probably from the 1860s. Later bottles all had sloped tops. This one has the flat top
found on the older bottles. It was sourced in the USA.
Several liqour bottles without labels, large and small. The small bottle on the front left is the only small one without the FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS embossing in this group.
This is an unusual bottle, or uncommon at least. Whereas the others are pottery this bottle is made of heavy black or purple glass. Otherwise it is similar to the large NG KA PY bottle although that is spelled NG KA PAY on this bottle. It also has the FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS embossing. It is a product of Wing Fung Hong company, Hong Kong and was imported by Popper Morson Corp. of New York-- 4/5 quart 96 proof.
Three large NG KA PY bottles-- The first two are Wing Lee Wai products in ceramic bottles. The first one lacks the "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS" embossing. The third bottle is the heavy black glass bottle shown in the previous photo. The first bottle was imported by Capital Importers, Los Angeles, California and contained a 90 proof version whereas the second bottle (previously described) contained a 96 proof liquor.
This appears to be an old bottle, perhaps from the 19th or early 20th Century. It does not have the embossing found on most bottles with labels intact. The spelling of "NG KA PI" is again different from two other spellings of this liquor noted, "NG KA PY" and NG KA PAY". The company identification on the bottom of the bottle is Yuen Fung Yuck and the label design showing a woman holding a tray is different from previous designs I have seen. Also, the weight is given in ounces, instead of pints and quarts. This bottle is one of two similar bottles found in Walla Walla, Washington in 1960.
Another old bottle from the 19th or early 20th Century without the FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS embossing. This "TSONG YUEN HUNG MEDICINAL WINE" variety was made by Wing Mau Kou of Canton, China. The name of the distillery is Wing Mau Kue-- the front label says Wing Mau Kue and the information label on the back says Wing Mau Kou. The bottle contained 25.6 fluid oz.
This page was getting too long. Some bottles in the collection have special sidewall and/or base characters/markings. Take this link, SIDEWALL MARKINGS, to see these.
This bottle, from the 19th or early 20th Century has no "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS" embossing but has embossed characters on the base I have not seen before. They read "Tientsin Clay Pot Company" or something similar. An example where the container manufacturer's name is on the liquor bottle instead of that of the liquor company. It came from California.
Here are 3 unopened miniature Wing Fung Hong liquor bottles. The contents have long since evaporated. Miniature liquor bottles such as these may have been salesman's samples. The first bottle (4 1/2" tall) contained Mui Kwa Lu. Manufactured by Wing Fung Hong, Tientsin & Hong Kong China.
The second bottle (3 3/4" tall) has labels that are too hard to read to determine what the contents were. Manufactured by Wing Fung Hong China. There is a partial Illinois tax stamp on this bottle.
The third bottle (3 1/4") contained Ng Ka Pay. Manufactured by Wing Fung Hong China.
A "stone" liquor bottle from Vancouver's Chinatown-- The characters on the bottle indicate that it is a Wing Lee Wai product from Tientsin and Hong Kong (thanks to the people at CINARC for the translation). This bottle may have held Mui Kwe Lu. It is 9" tall by 4" in diameter---
This Japanese sake bottle or decanter was dug in Macon, Georgia in a Chinese pit dating back to 1890-1900. It was found with the other usual Chinese pottery bottles so it may have had Chinese use. It is Tanba ware made about 1890. The bottle is 17cm x 8 cm. Front and back views are shown.
This 11.25" tall rose glass wine bottle was found in an 1880s exclusively Chinese dump in the Feather River Canyon area in Northern California near Oroville, Ca. It is an example of a mouth-blown bottle with an applied top and no pontil mark. This kind of bottle was manufactured in the USA from the mid 19th Century until about 1890. It has a kickup base but no indication of where it was manufactured or what it held. It definitely had Chinese usage.
MUI KWE LU distilled spirits bottle (23 cm x 6.0 cm) product of Wing Lee Wai company, Hong Kong. 5/8 pint 96 proof. This light green bottle bears the "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS" embossing. The red seal at the top is a US Internal Revenue seal identifying the importer as Gum Loon Company, San Francisco California. The second illustration shows the identification label, the FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS embossing and WING LEE WAI HONG KONG embossing at the bottom.
The above MUI KWE LU bottle shown with another glass liquor bottle. This one is taller than the MUI KWE LU and made of a darker green glass but has no labels. There is no indication of what liquor it contained but it does have the "FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS" embossing. This bottle contained 3/4 pint whereas the labelled bottle contained 5/8 pint. Both bottles have characters embossed on the bottoms.
Shown is a Wing Lee Wai company 96 proof MUI KWE LU bottle with lables, similar to the taller green bottle in the above illustration and also contained 5/8th pint. It was imported by the Columbia Company of San Francisco, CA. Embossed on the back of the bottle is the standard " FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS SALE OR RE-USE OF THIS BOTTLE". Bottles with labels are rare and necessary in a collection such as this to identify the contents of these bottles, often common without labels.
Chinese "beers" (approx. 23.0 cm x 6.6 cm). The centre pair in the first illustration are brown Wing Lee Wai company product. Many Chinese beers have a ring neck. These bottles bear various embossed Chinese characters and designs on sides and bottoms. These are known as beer bottles by collectors but some actually contained Ng Ka Py liquor as is evident in the lables on the 4 bottles with lables shown further down. Other liquors were possibly marketed in these or similar bottles as well. These bottles were common at the bottle sales and shows of the 1970s. They can still be obtained in many antique shops and junk stores in BC.
Shown are four Chinese Wing Lee Wai ring necked Ng Ka Py bottles with labels from Seattle's Chinatown. These are plain bottles with no embossing on the glass. They are rarely found with labels.
Label on back of one of the bottles with labels:
Three Japanese pottery sake bottles dug in Chinatown in Fresno California. A similar bottle is shown in the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum online illustrations as coming from a Chinese railroad workers' camp. These may have had Chinese usage. The two on the right have "Dai Nippon" on them, meaning "Greater Japan". Thanks to Lee Bibb for the translation. Greater Japan is a name for the Japanese Empire which dates these bottles as pre-1945. Also, as a point of interest you can see similar bottles on the far left of the second set of pictures of the Dai Loy Museum in Locke, California. Take the Dai Loy Museum link for a look. The Dai Loy was a Chinese gambling hall. Read this note for some further comments on Japanese items in this primarily Chinese collection.
This pottery rice wine bottle was dug in a Chinese dump in French Camp, California, near Stockton--used by the Chinese farm labourers from the San Joaquin Valley. The bottle was found with the usual Chinese wares, so if not Chinese this one definitely had Chinese usage. Also the shape of this bottle is slightly different from the above Japanese bottles, inluding a differently shaped top. A similar bottle to this one may be the one showing in the Dai Loy Museum as noted above.
This tall bottle (31 cm x 7.8 cm) contained an unknown liquor, reported to be a rice wine by Chinese visitors to the local museum where it was on display for many years. They assured me that it was a Chinese bottle, not Japanese. It was found in an old abandoned collapsed log cabin in a Chinese mining village near Barkerville, BC.
Liquor bottle, liquor warmer/server with liquor cups. The tiny cups are Four Seasons pattern.
Liquor warmer/server, sweet pea pattern.