Incense Burner (Koro)

cloisonné enamels worked in gold and silver wire, silver rim and foot, carved wood stand

height 22.9 cm

A cloisonné enamel koro and cover, the ovoid body worked in gold and silver wire with three separate scenes of birds and trees including a lowering cherry-tree, a willow-tree, and a flowering plum, the branches worked in thick sculpted and tapered wire, on a dark blue ground. The intricate borders worked in silver wire with formal hanging blades, scrolling foliage, and minute florets. The domed cover pierced with five petal-shaped motifs outlined in silver and with a single floret border. Surmounted by an integral knop. The three bracket-feet scattered with spring maple-leaves on a buff ground.

This superb koro amply demonstrates the great variety of styles available from the Ando Company. The complexity of the wirework, the intricate borders, and the midnight-blue ground are generally associated with the work of the other great Nagoya workshop, Hayashi Kodenji. It is clear that the design and execution of this piece were not by Kawade Shibataro, the chief craftsman at the factory, who specialized in musen and moriage enamels (see E 28) and who is not known to have worked in this traditional, almost ‘classical’, style, with the use of complex wire.

The piece rests on its original fitted wood stand, carved with maple-leaves and pierced with scrolling foliage.

O. Impey, M. Fairley (eds.), Meiji No Takara: Treasures Of Imperial Japan:  Enamel, London 1994, cat. 39.

Joe Earle, Splendors of Imperial Japan: Arts of the Meiji period from the Khalili Collection, London 2002, cat. 221, p. 314.