Signed Meiji Commemorative Flower Bronze with Wood Box
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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Metalwork: Pre 1920: item # 493419
Please refer to our stock # 6B-398A6 when inquiring.
B & C Antiques
P. O. Box 291
Derby, CT 06418
This striking two-piece Japanese cast bronze ikebana flower arranging vessel is made in an elegant variation of the classic “usubata” shape, a form which carries a long pedigree within the Japanese flower arrangement tradition. Meiji period (1868-1912). The base has been extensively inscribed with a commemoration and the signature of the artist, which reads either Sho Ryu or Masa Tatsu. The front of the large wooden tomobako storage box bears the inscription “Usubata liked by Raiseian,” and the artist’s signature and red seal appear on the inside of the frontispiece. The body has a slender pedestal base which arcs gracefully upward in a shape reminiscent of a wine goblet. The two handles – which are removable – were cast in the form of double gourds on a vine, and a paulownia leaf and flower design was cast in prominent relief on the front of the vessel. The removable large flat rim features an upturned edge that can be filled just to the brim. When so filled, it gives the appearance of the flower stems rising from the surface of a lake. The top portion also has three small cast feet, enabling it to be used as a stand alone flower container. Casting and finishing are extremely well done on this heavy piece, which has a wonderful original patina.
Chinese bronzes were imported to Japan during the Kamakura and Muromachi periods for use in the decoration of new styles of palace interiors. With the emergence of flower arrangement and the tea ceremony as distinctively Japanese cultural pursuits, bronze casters began to develop new and innovative forms of vessels loosely based on Chinese originals but with an unmistakable Japanese elegance. The usubata (“thin rim”) form was a purely Japanese development. Its wide, flat mouth was particularly favored as a means of enhancing the aesthetic balance between the flowering plants and their container, and this style of flower vessel remained popular until the very end of the Meiji period. (See similar examples illustrated and discussed in the sumptuous book entitled FLOWER BRONZES OF JAPAN by Joe Earle.)
Japanese bronze casters in the early and middle Edo period perfected an innovative and elegant style of container in response to changing tastes in flower arrangement. This elegance was retained until the 19th century, when differing aesthetics demands gave rise to the development of new, more highly decorated, types of bronze vessels. This is one of the finest flower bronzes we have ever had the opportunity to acquire.
CONDITION is excellent.
DIMENSIONS: 11” (28 cm) high, 11 ˝” (29 cm) top diameter; weight 11 pounds (5kg). Box is 12 ˝” (32 cm) square, 13” (33 cm) high.