33. Designs on black

With the previous vase the difficulty of designing on black with residual spiral ‘strength’ wiring was discussed. This simple jar or kouro follows naturally on from there because now there is no such problem, the black is bright and confident, with a hint of deep purple. It is unhindered by any ‘strength’ wiring other than at the neck and base.

It is unfortunate that the lid has been lost because it must have been very much part of the design. The jar looks slightly unbalanced without it. The floral decoration though is strong with subtle use of colour. A closer look is rewarding.

This is not great art, but the image achieved is simple and appealing and the enamel is carefully applied. It is also well offset by the butterflies which float convincingly on the dark blue black background. The larger butterfly is neatly executed – see for example the curves added to the rear wiring of the front wings.

ref 33.5

To those used to the heavily wired cloisonne of earlier times, this must have been nearly unrecognisable as being the same type of object. The makers must have needed to undertake a good deal of customer education to ensure that potential buyers did not miss the quality of the new style pieces.

Object 33. Kouro or jar height 8.1 cm weight 198 gm.

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