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

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

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


Chōnin                     Townsman or merchant


Daimyō                    ‘Feudal’ lord


Gō                             Art name


Fundame                  Matt gold lacquer ground made by sprinkling very finely ground  

                                   gold powder


Hirame                      Metallic particles, of graded sizes, used in lacquer decoration


Kakihan                    Artist’s written seal or ‘logo’


Kyō-yaki                   Pottery made in Kyōto


Maki-e                      ‘Sprinkled picture’ technique in which the design is built up by

                                  repeated alternating applications of coats of lacquer and     

                                  metallic dust


Mizusashi                A cold-water container used in the tea ceremony


Moriage                   Raised decoration


Nanga                      Lit. ‘Southern painting’ – Edo period (1600-1868) Japanese

                                 painting school derived from Chinese models.


Nashiji                    Technique of employing regular flattened flakes of gold dust

                                 buried in transparent lacquer – ‘aventurine’


Oshi-e                    Padded fabric picture


Oyatoi gaijin          A foreigner employed by the Japanese government to develop

                                 Japanese industry and art industry


Nunome-zōgan       Decorative application of metal sheeting (generally of gold or  

                                  silver) where the iron ground is first cross-hatched and the

                                  metal burnished on


Shakudō                   Dark pickled metal alloy of copper and gold


Shippō                       Lit. ‘Eight Treasures’ – cloisonné


Shibuichi                   Pickled allow of silver and copper


Sayagata                  Repeating background pattern of broken crosses or ‘swastikas’


Takamaki-e             ‘Sprinkled relief design’- technique in which motifs are built up

                                  using lacquer or lacquer mixed with other materials, prior to

                                  sprinkling with metal powders


Teishitsu gigeiin      Title: Imperial artist

Togidashi                 Technique in which the design in metal powders sprinkled over

                                   damp lacquer, is   permitted to harden, then entirely covered

                                   with lacquer and finally after hardening, polished with

                                   abrasives to re-expose the design


Tsuba                                  Sword guard


Tsutsugaki                         A method of resist dyeing, in which areas of cloth are painted

                                            with starch paste, applied through a bamboo tube (tsutsu), to

                                    protect them from the dye


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