27. Testing for Takahara

One of the exciting things about building any collection is making connections. When the connection is with a ‘famous’ craftsperson then there is particular interest. For this next vase, the possible connection is with Takahara Komajiro 高原駒次郎 of Kyoto, who Schneider says was active in the 1880s-1910s making ‘densely patterned combinations of thick and thin gilt brass wires …’.

The vase has no mark on the base to say where it was made, but that doesn’t tell us anything. There were many reasons why objects were not signed. For example, they might be made in one workshop but sold by a distributor who wanted to establish their own brand – which would be printed on the box the vase was sold in. No proof is therefore possible. All we can do is assemble the evidence. Here we will start with ’roundels’.

Vases signed by Takahara Komajiro often appear on the web and the reader may find examples [including in the collection area of this website now]. On one such we find near identical copies of the first two of these roundels. Of course, it may be that two separate makers had taken a design from a common source, or one may have copied another. To have two identical roundels seems less likely though.

Other aspects of that signed vase are also very similar, for example the wiring shapes and enamel colours (dappled green and yellow) at the neck and base, and the appearance and size of the spiral ‘strength’ wiring.

There are other similarities, but as final proof is not possible this will do for now. The vase is lovely whether it was made by Takahara Komajiro or made by an anonymous craftsperson. Also, part of the interest and excitement is that stronger evidence may yet emerge from later additions to this collection or elsewhere.

Object 27. Vase height 12.3 cm weight 106 gm.

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