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Exceptional enamelled silver dish. Silver and gold wires. Some Kiku Mon (Kiku=chrysanthemum)("Mon"=coats of arms in Japan), are in solid gold.The silver ground is slightly hammered to give a matte effect to the metal. The motifs are treated with the greatest care. Composition very artist. Certainly the work of one of the greatest enameller-goldsmith of his time. No signature. Meiji period. We have found an identical quality incense burner which is housed in the excellent Sannenzaka museum in Kyoto and is not signed too,same hammered bottom and same leafs composed of several little flowers and leafs.
We do not know why some objects of exceptional quality were not signed while objects of average or even mediocre quality are. There are several theories.
Either the work is made for a person too important to be suitable for a signature.
Or the artist does not sign because he alone is capable of creating such a work and his talent becomes a signature.
Some think that the objects were signed on the box containing them and that this was enough.
On this dish certain indications are perhaps given to us concerning this famous recipient, indeed, in Japan the phoenix being the symbol of the Empress it is quite possible that this dish, given its exceptional quality, was made for her. However, the presence of "Kiku Mon" in the shape of chrysanthemums is puzzling. Indeed at the end of the 19th century the imperial "Kiku Mon" is composed of 2 rows of 16 petals, that is to say 32, the imperial seal of 16 simple petals, the members of the imperial family had a "Kiku Mon" with 14 petals. On our dish are represented 4 "Kiku Mon" each with 16 petals in cloisonné enamel with gold thread which would correspond to the Imperial seal but the other 4 "Kiku Mon" in solid gold with 18 petals do not fit. However, it is now accepted that certain temples could exceptionally be authorized to have a "Mon" with chrysanthemum bearing a different number of petals. So why does this dish have two different kinds of "Kiku Mon", the number of petals is certainly not a coincidence, the artist has knowingly represented his 2 identical series of 16 and 18. There is a subtle meaning that escapes us. It is not unreasonable to think that this dish was offered by the Empress to a temple or vice versa.
Diameter: 305 mm
Weight: 950 g