East Asia, Japan, late Meiji Period, ca. early 20th century CE. A large cast bronze vase with an incredible ornate surface depicting an eagle and snake on one side of the body and a pair of wood ducks on the other. On the broad, horizontal rim are several incised dragons. Around the rim is a profusion of motifs - a low relief Greek key motif forming a border, with hanging repeated cloud-like forms below it. Below that, the neck corsets inward, its surface decorated with fan shapes. The body of the vessel widens, with the high relief eagle and snake set inside a fantasy world of clouds on one side and the wood ducks surrounded by rippling and bubbling water, also in high relief on the other side. The twin handles are studded with bonsai-tree like forms at regular intervals. This part of the body stands inside of a separate stand, which is also very ornate, with a border of high relief peaches and leaves around its wide, round base. Size: 11" W x 14.95" H (27.9 cm x 38 cm)
Meiji-era artwork drew on Chinese themes for inspiration, as this vase demonstrates, with its fantastical theme of dragons combined with its keen eye for floral and faunal forms. Ancient Chinese bronzes and bronze casting also captivated Meiji artisans. The disappearance of the samurai class after the end of the Edo period alowed Japanese metalworkers to focus on making objects purely for display.
Provenance: ex-Sarkisian Gallery, Denver, Colorado, USA
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