An important and early cloisonné-enamel ovoid vase  By Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927), Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th century, circa 1890s
Lot 212
An important and early cloisonné-enamel ovoid vase
By Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927), Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th century, circa 1890s
Sold for £20,000 (US$ 26,754) inc. premium

Lot Details
An important and early cloisonné-enamel ovoid vase  By Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927), Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th century, circa 1890s An important and early cloisonné-enamel ovoid vase  By Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927), Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th century, circa 1890s An important and early cloisonné-enamel ovoid vase  By Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927), Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th century, circa 1890s
An important and early cloisonné-enamel ovoid vase
By Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927), Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th century, circa 1890s
Delicately worked in silver wire of varying gauge with a continuous design of purple and white fronds of wisteria trailing vertically and asymmetrically around the shoulder from beneath scrolling branches and overlapping green leaves above assorted clumps of wild flowers including kiku (chrysanthemum), nadeshiko (pink), tanpopo (dandelion) and suisen (narcissus) around the base, the waisted neck decorated with a wide band of repeated stylised foliate motifs interwoven among karakusa ('Chinese grasses'), the upper rim and foot with a narrow band of hanabishi shippo-zunagi (flowery-diamond linked-jewels), the mouth with a band of lappets enclosing a repeated pattern of white and red half-chrysanthemum heads, all reserved on a midnight-blue ground, applied with a gilt-brass metal foot and rim; signed directly on the base plate with engraved signature Kyoto Namikawa. 22.2cm (8¼in) high.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    An English private collection.

    For a very similarly decorated vase of the same size by Namikawa with an identical signature directly engraved on the base, see Oliver Impey and Malcolm Fairley, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Japanese Art, Vol.III, Enamel, London, Kibo Foundation, 1995, cat no.11; compare also another similar vase in the collection of the Namikawa Cloisonné Museum of Kyoto, published and illustrated in Ogawa Mikio et al., Shippo: Iro to saimitsu no sekai (Shippo, Japanese Cloisonné: A World of Color and Exquisite Detail), Tokyo, Lixil Gallery, 2009, p.6, exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, published and illustrated in Hida Toyojiro et. al., Namikawa Yasuyuki Meiji shippo no yuwaku - Tomei na kuro no kansei (Namikawa Yasuyuki and Japanese Cloisonné - The Allure of Meiji Cloisonné: The Aesthetic of Translucent Black), Tokyo, Mainichi Shinbunsha, 2017, no.38; a third but probably later vase decorated with wisteria in the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, exhibited, published and illustrated in ibid., no.39.

    Born in 1845 to a rural samurai family, Namikawa Yasuyuki started his cloisonné business in Kyoto in 1873 and by the 1880s was successful enough to build, and then extend and upgrade, a large compound that eventually included workshops housing 20 or more employees, a showroom, a family residence and a garden with a fishpond. He used these facilities to create a carefully orchestrated private retail experience that was described in admiring detail by American and European travel writers, selling many of his finest wares directly to private clients, as well as carrying out imperial commissions and participating in international expositions. Between 1876 and 1904 he won 11 overseas awards and in 1896, along with his unrelated namesake the Tokyo enameler Namikawa Sosuke (the two family names are written with different characters), was among the first individuals to be appointed to the ranks of Teishitsu Gigeiin (Artist-Craftsmen to the Imperial Household). Such was his reputation that at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle his wares were snapped up the moment they were unpacked and sold for up to ten times the amount anticipated. For a detailed biography of Namikawa Yasuyuki see Frederic T. Schneider, The Art of Japanese Cloisonné Enamel: History, Techniques and Artists, 1600 to the Present, Jefferson NC, McFarland, 2010, pp.86–87.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that this vase is probably made by one of the craftsmen who worked in the studio of Namikawa Yasuyuki. Similar examples are known to exist by an artist who was known as Shibata.
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