18. Beautiful butterflies

In earlier posts we looked at many examples of butterfly decoration. Often the designs were really simple and yet the enamel escaped or the wiring slipped. Here by contrast we have a later version where the butterfly shape is just the starting point for the design.

Looking in more detail we see that reflective foil pieces or equivalent are used to give the brightness, and then fine wire work produces leaves and flowers. We also see that thicker wire is being used as part of the decoration.

Note also in image 18.4 the very small ‘strength wire’ spirals, which are in diameter approximately each just over 2 mm. This must have been made when wired cloisonne was at an advanced stage.

The advanced wirework continues in the roundels/coins. The workshop which produced this jar was able to execute complex designs neatly.

One other interesting feature is the patterns used to decorate the lower area of the kouro. Just above the usual band of red dots there are some ‘fingers’ which are red surrounded by blue and divided by green. A maker called Takahara Komakichi (his mark is a script style 高原 in an oval surround – see Schneider mark 193) seems to use this pattern on his marked work. It is also found on work by the better known similarly named Takahara Komajiro 高原駒次郎.

This small jar contains an enormous amount of wiring work, all executed in fine detail with great accuracy. This is combined with very effective use of reflective foil. It must have taken a very large number of hours to produce, but the result is a really beautiful cloisonne object.

Object 18. Jar (no lid) height 10.1 cm weight 277 gm.

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