KOMAI OTOJIRŌ 駒井音次郎 (1842–1917) An Iron and Gold Miniature Cabinet山水花鳥図布目象嵌鉄小箪笥Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1895–1905
Lot 4
KOMAI OTOJIRŌ 駒井音次郎 (1842–1917)
An Iron and Gold Miniature Cabinet
山水花鳥図布目象嵌鉄小箪笥
Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1895–1905
US$ 20,000 - 30,000
£ 16,000 - 23,000

Lot Details
KOMAI OTOJIRŌ 駒井音次郎 (1842–1917) An Iron and Gold Miniature Cabinet山水花鳥図布目象嵌鉄小箪笥Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1895–1905
KOMAI OTOJIRŌ 駒井音次郎 (1842–1917)
An Iron and Gold Miniature Cabinet
山水花鳥図布目象嵌鉄小箪笥
Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1895–1905

Mounted on six bracket feet, of bombé form and fitted with two hinged doors, closed by a silver clasp and pin, that open to reveal four drawers of different sizes, three with plain silver handles and the lowest with a foliate silver handle, the top of the cabinet with two scrolls to right and left, the entire surface inside and out minutely decorated in gold overlay on iron, variously depicting rustic landscapes with waterside buildings and bird-and-flower scenes, all within borders of elaborate geometric and floral ornament, the interiors of the drawers plain gilt, signed on the base in gold overlay with a circular seal-style mark Raku 樂and a signature Komai sei 駒井製 (Manufactured by Komai) within a double rectangular reserve
5 1/4 × 8 × 3 in. (13.3 × 20.3 × 7.5 cm)

Footnotes

  • Around 1873 Komai Otojirō, son of a sword-fitting maker from Higo Province, started selling his richly decorated wares in the international port of Kobe. Before long, his chargers, vases, and other items of iron overlaid with gold and silver, sold under an exclusive contract with the Ikeda Company, were in international demand and by 1881 he was wealthy enough to buy a mansion in Kyoto. Following a difficult trading period during which he was forced to work as Ikeda's employee, in 1894 Komai set up a business catering to wealthy European and American travelers and began to promote his wares at international expositions under his own name. He retired in 1906 and was succeded by his son Komai Seibei (1883–1970)

    Perhaps taking his inspiration from the popularity of small-scale cabinets and boxes made from lacquered wood, admired by European royalty since the eighteenth century and by the 1880s a favorite with globe-trotting visitors, during this later period Komai focused his production on miniaturist furniture-shaped pieces such as the present rich and elaborate tour de force. As with all of Komai's production, the decoration is executed in nunome zōgan, literally "cloth-texture inlay," a damascening technique in which thin gold sheet is hammered onto an iron surface previously scratched with thin lines which provide a "key."

    Reference

    Chamberlain 1901, Advertisement Supplement, pp. 63, 78

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