A silver and cloisonné enamel egg-shaped koro (incense burner) and cover Probably made for the Ozeki Company, circa 1900
Lot 504*
A silver and cloisonné enamel egg-shaped koro (incense burner) and cover Probably made for the Ozeki Company, circa 1900
Sold for £15,000 (US$ 23,429) inc. premium

Lot Details
A silver and cloisonné enamel egg-shaped koro (incense burner) and cover Probably made for the Ozeki Company, circa 1900 A silver and cloisonné enamel egg-shaped koro (incense burner) and cover Probably made for the Ozeki Company, circa 1900 A silver and cloisonné enamel egg-shaped koro (incense burner) and cover Probably made for the Ozeki Company, circa 1900 A silver and cloisonné enamel egg-shaped koro (incense burner) and cover Probably made for the Ozeki Company, circa 1900 A silver and cloisonné enamel egg-shaped koro (incense burner) and cover Probably made for the Ozeki Company, circa 1900 A silver and cloisonné enamel egg-shaped koro (incense burner) and cover Probably made for the Ozeki Company, circa 1900
Fine Metalwork from an English private collection
(Lots 503-511)
A silver and cloisonné enamel egg-shaped koro (incense burner) and cover
Probably made for the Ozeki Company, circa 1900
The body decorated all over with paulownia and foliage, all worked in translucent repoussé enamel with silver wire, reserved on an ishime ground, the domed partially-perforated cover similarly decorated and surmounted by a silver and gold writhing scaly-dragon finial, the base applied with a single large kiku-mon and supported by a similarly-coiled dragon, the interior silver lined, unsigned.
10.2cm (4in) high. (2).

Footnotes

  • 桐雲文龍鈕蓋龍足七宝銀香炉 無銘
    (おそらく大関弥兵衛・定次郎親子制作委嘱)
    1900年頃
     
    The Ozeki Company was an entrepreneurial one that commissioned work from the finest artists. The exceptional quality of the enamelling on this lot bears a striking resemblance to that found on a large silver egg-shaped case and cover in the world-famous Nasser D. Khalili Collection; see Oliver Impey and Malcolm Fairley (ed.), Meiji no Takara, Treasures of Imperial Japan, Metalwork part I, illustrated, no.49. And, indeed, this present lot compares favourably to the Imperial eggs made in the Russian Faberge workshops during the late 19th century.

    After the prohibition of the wearing of swords in 1876, the dazzling skills of casting bronze, inlaying, colouring, forging steel, hammering and chiselling gold and silver developed by sword-fitting makers were transferred to the manufacture of ornaments and accessories, often directed at the Western market. There is therefore a tendency in the West to pay close attention to these Meiji Period Japanese productions and to appreciate those of the highest artistic merit.

    Although it is unsigned, the workmanship, composition and form of this elegant piece are undoubtedly superb. The Ozeki Company commissioned work only from the finest artists and the identity of the individual artists was deliberately concealed in order to emphasise the Ozeki corporate brand. There is no doubt that the metalworker involved was a former specialist in the manufacture of sword fittings, and like other Meiji-era craftsmen who originally trained as a maker of sword fittings, he had to adapt to new styles and products in the 1870's.

    The luxurious combination of techniques seen on this incense burner, including silver filigree work, engraving in soft metals and translucent cloisonné enamels, epitomises the fine quality of the craftmanship found on metalwork produced in the Meiji period. The stylised flowers and foliage, coloured in a limited palette of green, blue and yellow, are also expertly used to offset the sinuous designs of the silver and gold dragons - both intricately and naturalistically rendered - that entwine around both the top and bottom of this piece.
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    Specialist - Japanese Art
    Bonhams
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