Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927) was perhaps the most celebrated enameller of the Meiji period (1868-1912), when cloisonné enamelling reached its peak in Japan. At this time the government were encouraging artists to create works for national and international exhibitions. As standards improved, cloisonné became a popular export item. Yasuyuki founded a hugely successful workshop in Kyoto and won many gold and silver medals at almost all the great International Expositions. In 1896 he was nominated an ‘Imperial Artist’.
This vase is predominantly cylindrical in shape, widening at the base where the waterfall foams over rocks and plants. It is mainly sculpted in silver wire on shades of blue enamel, but also uses some shakudō wire, and brown and green enamel for rocks and leaves. Yasuyuki made this vase shortly before he retired in 1915.
In traditional cloisonné, wires are attached to a metal body and coloured enamels are applied between the wires. Yasuyuki’s great skill lay in the way he sculpted the wires into different shapes and widths, so that they became an important part of the picture in themselves.
Impey, Oliver, and Joyce Seaman, Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period 1868-1912, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2005), no. 38 on p. 80, pp. 8 & 22, illus. pp. 80-81
Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 24 May 2006-23 December 2008, Treasures: Antiquities, Eastern Art, Coins, and Casts: Exhibition Guide, Rune Frederiksen, ed. (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2006), no. 123 on p. 45, illus. p. 45
Decorative technique in which wires are attached to a metal body and coloured enamels are applied between the wires.
alloy of copper and gold, patinated to a dark blue-black colour
Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.