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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Vase with scenes of a courtier on a horse

Location

    • Second floor | Room 36 | Japan

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.

 

Publications online

  • Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period 1868-1912 by Oliver Impey and Joyce Seaman

    Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period

    One of a pair of vases in bronze and soft metals, each made in six parts. The base a flat platform on which sits a tripod stand and phoenix shaped feet, with pierced panels of drums, gourds and scrolls, with applied daikon (radish). This supports a hexagonal gallery on which rests a bulbous vase with short neck and large, flattened tray-like rim, with upright sides. Each vase bears two shaped panels on the sides containing different scenes – a courtier on a horse fording a stream, a bird on a rock beside bamboo, a courtier with two attendants and a bird flying through a bamboo grove beside rocks. On the flat surface of the rim, spools and skeins of threads with applied ‘Chinese lantern’ (Physalis) seed pods. Engraved signature within one vase: Kanamori Tokistsugu sei.

    Based on a classic flower-vase shape, this elaborate concoction, typical of the higher quality work of the Kaga metalworkers of early Meiji Japan, looks as if it was designed by a committee; it probably was. Kanamori Tokitsugu appears to be otherwise unrecorded. Almost certainly made by a small group of former sword-fitting makers, this bears decoration piled on decoration and stands on a series of extra-supporting plinths and feet, in the search for elaboration and the demonstration of skill that was the reaction of Japanese craftsmen of the time to High Victorianism. It is likely that the vases were made for one of the great International Expositions of the time, perhaps Vienna (1873), Philadelphia (1876) or Paris (1878), or but we have found no record.

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