an amateur attempt to colect images of japanese metalwork and ivory masterpieces.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
MY PUPPY IS ON SHROOMS
Koro or incense burner in the form of a seated mastiff puppy, of cast and cold chiseled akaganebronze. An inscription chiseled on the reverse reads: Oba Zenjiro Yoshitsugu Saku or Made by Oba Zenjiro Yoshitsugu. Early Edo Period, 17th century.
This incense burner is modeled after a kara inu or foreign dog popular among the upper classes at the beginning of the 17th century.
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.