an amateur attempt to colect images of japanese metalwork and ivory masterpieces.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
OH MY DEER
Koro or incense burner in the form of a seated deer stretching its neck upwards and crying to the moon, the lid in the form of a reishi fungus of immortality which has fallen onto the deer's back, of cast and cold chiseled bronze.With a double storage box.
Edo Period, late 17th - early 18th century.
The reishi suggests immortality and long life, associations reinforced by the belief that deer were the companions of the god of longevity, Jurojin. Executed with great delicacy and feeling, the deer gracefully calls to the moon.
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.