Large Japanese Bronze & Mixed Metal Lidded Vase - Kajima Ikkoku II


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As part of our Japanese art collection we are delighted to offer this large , heavy and simply unique solid silver and mixed metal bowl from the Meiji period , the double skinned silver bowl has been painstakingly onlaid with twelve various mixed metal and onlaid panels , each formed from differing alloys such as Gold, Silver, Shakudo & Shibuichi, each panel has been further signed by the individual artists responsible , one of the fan shaped panels showcases a Japanese poem that reads : “The first light over Yoshino village-the snow has piled so deep-so white-I cannot tell it from the dawns pale moonlight ” A charming 10th century poem , each of the other panels is finely onlaid with traditional Japanese scenes, birds, and landscapes in fine detail , the making process must have proved challenging for the head artist Kyukosai Yoshikatsu responsible for overseeing the works , following exhaustive and detailed translations of the artists involved (listed below) it has become apparent that the bowl was made by a group that included students of leading artists Kano Natsuo and Unno Shomin , arguably the two greatest artists of the Meiji period ,please see my contemporaneous notes below :

In a nutshell, the silver bowl was made by a group of twelve metal artists who were students of Kano Natsuo (1828-1898), Unno Shomin (1844-1915), and Namekawa Sadakatsu (1848-after 1900). It is possible that the Silver Bowl was made as a presentation item or a collaborative work by the University of Fine Art graduate students studying in Tokyo, the artists belonged to the Mito metal School and Tokyo metal art tradition. The chief project artist was  汲古斎。美勝。Kyukosai Yoshikatsu. The images reproduced are based on the poem inscribed: “The first light over Yoshino village. The snow has piled so deep, so white, I cannot tell it from the dawn’s pale moonlight (朝ぼらけ, 有明の月と, this poem is quoted from one of the One Hundred Poems compiled in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, also complied in the Kokin Wakashu. 小倉百人一首。新古今集。

Suggested dating: circa 1890 -1895.

Twelve metal artists as follows.

貞珉 Teimin (Kurita Teimin). Two herons by the river stream

貞美 Teibi (Sadayoshi. Inagawa Teibi). Morning glory flowers

貞真 Teishin (Sadasane). Rice Sheaf

貞兼 Sadakane.  Lillies

勝世 Shosei (Katsuyo) Bamboo and bamboo shoots

勝夫 Katsuo (Shobu). Morning sunrise over crashing waves

勝瑛 Shoei  (Ito Shoei. Ito Tokutaro). Thatched cottage by the mountain

勝信 Katsunobu  (Ishikawa Katsunobu) Two cranes in the flight

知新斎  Chishinsai. Cherry blossom trees by the river with a bridge

勝美  Shobi (Katsumi/ Katsuyoshi, original name Iida Nisaburo). A wading bird with small daisy chrysanthemum flowers .:

文勝 Fumikatsu (Shinoda Fumikatsu). Moon and pine trees

子勝 Sanekatsu (Shikatsu). “Asaborake” poem inscription engraving

美勝  Yoshikatsu (Bikatsu) Kyukosai Yoshikatsu – The signature and seal on the base of the bowl


We  have compiled further details on most of the artists and have found records of their individual works sold at auction and showcased in important collections such as the Khalili (available upon request) , in fair summary and in our opinion , we have uncovered an incredibly scarce one off national treasure, this is a seriously high quality silver and mixed metal bowl , the like of which we are unlikely to see again.

Provenance : USA Collection

The condition is EXCEPTIONAL with minimal age related cleaning wear.(please note that this item proved very challenging to accurately photograph , there are NO dents or severe scratches , the colours of each alloy may vary slightly to the images portrayed).

Approximate sizes.

Height:         10″   25.5 cm

Diameter :  13.25″ 34 cm

Weight :      4.4 kg

Free worldwide delivery included in the price of this item .

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