Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art

A Japanese Bronze Vase -Mother of Pearl InlayâMeiji

A Japanese Bronze Vase -Mother of Pearl Inlay–Meiji

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Korean: Metalwork: Pre 1920: Item # 1012857

Please refer to our stock # 37 when inquiring.
This is a very unusual vase. The outer shell appears to be a dark brown bronze colored enamel or thick lacquer overlay. The coating then has a mother of pearl – aogi – inlaid scene. When you look inside the vase it is clear that the vase is bronze metal. However, on the base there are two chips on the rim that look like the underlay is ceramic. Our best guess is that the piece was first cast as a bronze vase - then a layer of ceramic was baked on that would hold the thick enamel coating. That would then enable the piece to be inlaid with the mother of pearl scene.

The scene shows a steep mountain with a large temple at the base – two smaller temples on the upper left side and a pagoda like temple at the very top. The mountain has two flocks of chidori birds (plovers) flying nearby and some single birds off in the distance. There are two other mountains in the distance executed in the same mother of pearl technique. Sections of the mountains are executed in the technique called nashiji (pear skin) - a sprinkling of small pieces and dust of the mother of pearl.

The vase measures 6 ¾ ”high by 5” diameters at the waist and is in excellent condition. We date it to the late Meiji period, circa 1880s - 1910.