An attractive japanese lacquerware bowl decorated in the Meiji tradition with branches and flowers. Resin, 20th century.
Japanese craftsmen dabbled in new techniques of applying coloured lacquers and polishing lacquered surfaces down to a glossy, almost-mirrored finish. It was applied to countless smaller decorative objects such as boxes, koro and even netsuke and okimono. As individual pieces of oriental art, Japanese Lacquerware for sale remains highly collectable.
Condition: Very good. A little wear to rim decoration.
Dimensions: 11.6cm dia.
Provenance: Ex. Private collection, Hampshire, UK.
The Meiji period saw an expansion in the production of lacquerware. This was especially popular in the West since the form and decoration was unlike anything seen before, and was seen as distinctively ‘Japanese’. Indeed, the rich black lacquer which adorned most Japanese woodwork was so associated with the country that it was simply referred to as ‘japan’ (like ‘china’ for porcelain) in English. It was an ancient technique, involving the use of the resin from a tree native to East Asia, and remained a mystery to many in the West until the end of the 19th Century.
Lacquerwork also became more impressive, as craftsmen dabbled in new techniques of applying coloured lacquers, inlaying metals, and polishing lacquered surfaces down to a glossy, almost-mirrored finish. Lacquer was not only applied to wooden furniture, but also to smaller decorative objects such as boxes, koro and even netsuke and okimono. Shibata Zeshin (1807- 1891) was one of the most prominent lacquer artists of the period.
The technique of shibayama became hugely popular during the Meiji period, again as a means of decorating furniture, vases, and small objects. Shibayama refers to an inlay technique in which cut pieces of ivory, mother-of-pearl, coral, precious metal, wood and horn are inlaid onto a wooden or lacquer surface. The technique is similar to Western marquetry but produces a more three-dimensional, textured surface abnd often depicted more elaborate scenes. Artistic development in shibayama occurred in the Meiji period, when makers started to use new materials, such as coloured enamels and precious metals, to make ever more complicated and sophisticated works.
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