Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period

A catalogue of the Ashmolean’s Japanese decorative arts from the Meiji period (1868-1912), by Oliver Impey and Joyce Seaman (published Oxford, 2005).

Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period 1868-1912 by Oliver Impey and Joyce Seaman

Publications online: 54 objects

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Tray with two sparrows on a branch

  • Literature notes

    Rectangular tray with two sparrows, one holding a fruiting branch in its beak, perched on a bough, with a white ground surrounded by a foliate border. The reverse with clouds and stylised flowers on a turquoise ground. The tray unsigned; the image signed: Seitei with kakihan.

    Namikawa Sōsuke (1847-1910) (no relation to Namikawa Yasuyuki) was more of an entrepreneur than an artist, though he did have a more-or-less consistent 'house style'. He specialized in the use of less and less visible wire, making his work look as much like a painting on porclain as possible; indeed he both adapted the work of at least two painters on a regular basis, and produced cloisonné copies of famous historical paintings. Frequently he collaborated with the artist Watanabe Seitei (1851-1918) [see also EA1994.35 and EA1990.4], whose signature would be found on the front of the work, while Sōsuke's would be found on the reverse. This tray is in Seitei's somewhat scratchy early style, contrasting with the slightly blander style of the following pieces.
  • Details

    Associated place
    Asia Japan (place of creation)
    Date
    early 1880s
    Artist/maker
    Watanabe Seitei (1851 - 1918) (designer)
    attributed to Namikawa Sōsuke (1847 - 1910)
    Material and technique
    copper, with cloisonné enamel
    Dimensions
    19.7 x 29.6 x 1.5 cm (height x width x depth)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    1
    Credit line
    Purchased with the assistance of the Story Fund, 2000.
    Accession no.
    EA2000.50
  • Further reading

    Impey, Oliver, and Joyce Seaman, Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period 1868-1912, Ashmolean Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2005), no. 44 on p. 92, pp. 7 & 62, illus. p. 93

    Katz, Janice, Japanese Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, with an introductory essay by Oliver Impey (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2003), p. 195

Glossary

cloisonné

  • cloisonné

    Decorative technique in which wires are attached to a metal body and coloured enamels are applied between the wires.

Location

    • Second floor | Room 36 | Japan

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Publications online

  • Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period 1868-1912 by Oliver Impey and Joyce Seaman

    Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period

    Rectangular tray with two sparrows, one holding a fruiting branch in its beak, perched on a bough, with a white ground surrounded by a foliate border. The reverse with clouds and stylised flowers on a turquoise ground. The tray unsigned; the image signed: Seitei with kakihan.

    Namikawa Sōsuke (1847-1910) (no relation to Namikawa Yasuyuki) was more of an entrepreneur than an artist, though he did have a more-or-less consistent 'house style'. He specialized in the use of less and less visible wire, making his work look as much like a painting on porclain as possible; indeed he both adapted the work of at least two painters on a regular basis, and produced cloisonné copies of famous historical paintings. Frequently he collaborated with the artist Watanabe Seitei (1851-1918) [see also EA1994.35 and EA1990.4], whose signature would be found on the front of the work, while Sōsuke's would be found on the reverse. This tray is in Seitei's somewhat scratchy early style, contrasting with the slightly blander style of the following pieces.
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