cloisonné enamel, silver wire, applied with silver rim and foot

height 17.3 cm

A cloisonné enamel vase with a squat rounded body and tall slightly flared neck worked in silver wire with stems of trailing wisteria, the flowers in shaded tones of purple and the leaves in pale green, on a pale green-brown ground. Applied with silver rim and foot.

Exhibited at the Red Cross Exhibition, 1915; illustrated in Joly’s Japanese Art and Handicrafts, No. 75. A vase of similar form is illustrated in kyo shippo monyo shu, p. 36.

The depiction of the wisteria is extraordinarily naturalistic within the canons of that style of Nihonga painting Namikawa followed, which owed a direct debt to the Shijo school. The use of wire as an entity in itself, where it does not enclose enamel, is visible here for the first time, the tendrils tailing off into sprigs of wire.

O. Impey, M. Fairley (eds.), Meiji No Takara: Treasures Of Imperial Japan: Enamel, London 1994, cat. 22.

J. Earle, Splendors of Imperial Japan: Arts of the Meiji period from the Khalili Collection, London 2002, cat. 204, p. 296.