41. Showing Off

This next jar is an extraordinary example of wire emphasising cloisonne art. It has 12 lobes and uses 6 different patterns. Perhaps it was created as a demonstration piece or for an exhibition. Certainly it is covered with highly skilled wirework and imaginative design. A huge number of hours of work would have been needed to complete it.

The best way to appreciate the work is to look at images of the 6 different designs. Note that they are used a varying number of times (see number in brackets).

One area of particular note is the way flattened twisted wire is used as a border for coins, the Houou Birds and other objects. For example, here in greater detail are the three butterflies from the panel shown above. Thin wires are not used at all, reducing the designs to the simplest outlines but still achieving a pleasing effect.

Another interesting aspect to the wiring is the way that the spiral strength wiring is used (see the images above, surrounding the butterflies). It is very small and very untidy. Indeed it is the smallest seen yet on this site but it looks like it was applied with a view to quantity rather than quality. Alternatively this was a design decision to achieve an interesting background effect.

If there were ever a ‘Japanese cloisonne school’ in Kyoto or Nagoya a hundred or more years ago then it is easy to see how this piece might be on display to inspire the students.

Object 41. Jar height 19.5 cm weight 514 gm.

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