an amateur attempt to colect images of japanese metalwork and ivory masterpieces.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Kōro or incense burner in the form of a large dancing bull carrying bundled brushwood on its back, of cast and cold chiseled bronze with gold eyes. Signed with a chiseled inscription on the back: Yokokawa Eikyū Saku...Kanazawa Jū, or Made by Yokokawa Eikyu of Kanazawa. Late Edo Period, circa 1825.
An extremely fine and large Edo bronze censor. The silky surface of the bull ripples with power, and contrasts with the treatment of the massively bundled wood.
In 1868, following the downfall of Japan's military government, the Emperor Meiji was restored to power. Japanese artisans, particularly metalworkers, lost their traditional samurai patrons and were obliged to find new markets for their skills. Emerging from its feudal past, Japan developed as a modern industrialised and economic power. It employed western technicians and advisors to work with Japanese artisans in developing new and improved methods of production. At the great international exhibitions that were then in vogue, Japan displayed its traditional arts and crafts, as well as other forms of manufacture. The objects illustrated here illustrate many of Japan's traditional metalworking techniques, such as bronze-casting, patination, decorative inlay and chasing (fine working of the finished surface). These had previously been used to great effect on arms and armour for the samurai, but here they have been transferred to purely decorative objects. Like other forms of art produced during the Meiji period (1868-1912), these pieces illustrate a fascinating fusion of traditional Japanese techniques and themes with western forms and ideas.