an amateur attempt to colect images of japanese metalwork and ivory masterpieces.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Tsuri-gōro or hanging incense burner in the form of a flying bat with out-stretched wings. Of cast and cold-chiseled bronze, with a bronze chain. Signed on the reverse with a chiseled signature by the artist: Yamashiro. Edo period, early 19th century.
With the tomobako or original box, inscribed on the exterior of the lid: Kōmori Tsuri O-gōro or Bat (Form) Hanging Incense Burner; and on the reverse of the lid signed: Okamashi Yamashiro orKettle Caster Yamashiro, and sealed:Yamashiro.
The exterior of the box bears a paper label which reads: Karakane Kōmori Tsuri-gōro or Bronze Bat (Form) Hanging Incense Burner.
Inside the box is a paper auction document inscribed: 83 Yen, Heizandō, with a round seal: Urikireor Sold; and dated:Shōwa Yon Nen Jū-gatsu, Jū-yon-ka, Makino-ke Kanju Shōgun Shozōhin Nyūsatsu Fudamoto Itō Heizandō or Shōwa (era) 4th Year (1929), October 14th, Sale of General Kanju of the Makino Family’s Collection (by) Itō Heizandō (Auction House). Itō Heizandō was located in Ryōgoku, Tokyo.
Made to suspend in a tokonoma alcove, this sleek, stylized bat would have been seen flying through incense as if through evening clouds.
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.