Masters of Enamel: The Collection of John and Muriel Okladek | Including Further Japanese Works of Art from the Meiji Period, 1868-1912

Masters of Enamel: The Collection of John and Muriel Okladek | Including Further Japanese Works of Art from the Meiji Period, 1868-1912

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 8. An impressive cloisonné enamel moon flask | Signed Kyoto Namikawa (workshop of Namikawa Yasuyuki, 1845-1927) | Meiji period, late 19th century.

Property from the John and Muriel Okladek Collection

An impressive cloisonné enamel moon flask | Signed Kyoto Namikawa (workshop of Namikawa Yasuyuki, 1845-1927) | Meiji period, late 19th century

Lot Closed

November 3, 02:08 PM GMT

Estimate

150,000 - 180,000 GBP

Lot Details

Description

Property from the John and Muriel Okladek Collection

An impressive cloisonné enamel moon flask

Signed Kyoto Namikawa (workshop of Namikawa Yasuyuki, 1845-1927)

Meiji period, late 19th century


the moonflask with shakudo mounts and silver base, decorated in coloured cloisonné enamels and worked in various thicknesses of gold wire, with sparrows above budding magnolia, the reverse with sprays of peony on a fine green tea dust ground, signed Kyoto Namikawa (workshop of Namikawa Yasuyuki, 1845-1927)

17 cm., 6¼ in. high

The Ahrens Company was one of many companies set up under the new Meiji government’s programme whereby western specialists were invited to Japan to help modernise the country’s existing industries. Their chief technologist was the German chemist Gottfried Wagener (1831–92). Wagener, an expert on glazes and firing techniques, is renowned for having introduced modern European enamelling technology to Japan.


In 1878 Wagener moved to Kyoto where he met the former samurai turned cloisonné artist Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927). Yasuyuki began his career around 1868 and worked with the Kyoto Shippo Kaisha from 1871 to 1874. Although it is not clear how Wagener and Yasuyuki met, there is no doubt that they collaborated and that the most significant result of their collaboration was the creation of the superb semi-transparent mirror-black enamel that was to become the hallmark of much of Yasuyuki’s subsequent work.


Yasuyuki’s cloisonné enamels are characterised by the skilful use of intricate wirework and superb attention to detail. The designs on his earlier pieces are relatively traditional, consisting mainly of stylised botanical and formal geometric motifs. The designs on much of his later work tends to be more pictorial, consisting mainly of scenes from nature and views of landmarks in and around Kyoto. His work included both pieces with designs predominantly defined by wires and pieces where the pictorial composition is balanced by large areas of pure coloured enamel.