copper, cloisonné enamel
height 49.7 cm
The Nagoya cloisonné company (Nagoya shippo kaisha), founded in 1871, was an entrepreneurial company that retailed the work of many small local manufacturing workshops and encouraged increased quality and productivity. It received international notice in 1873, when it won a prize at the Vienna World Exhibition.
Although when compared with some of the other items shown at the First National Industrial Exhibition in Tokyo in 1877 this vase may at first atypical of its period, it is nonetheless representative, particularly in its unresolved design. Three different decorative elements are presented in uncomfortable combination: the bold geometric patterns mismatched with simulated rope-twist and a collar of traditional small-repeat motifs.
Rather than indicating the specific locality of manufacture, Nagoya, the company signed itself as ‘Dai Nihon shippo kaisha’, the Great Japan cloisonné company. This general appellation became more pertinent in 1880, when the company opened a branch workshop in Tokyo, under the management of Namikawa Sosuke.
Haydn Williams, Enamels of the World: 1700-2000 The Khalili Collections, London 2009, cat. 91, pp. 158–9.