Japanese Satsuma Vase Pair Gyokuzan


Meiji Period (1868-1912) 

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    Painted with Continuous Scenes

    From our Japanese collection, we are delighted to offer this Japanese Satsuma Vase Pair by Gyokuzan. The vases of squat bulbous form with pinched neck and slightly flared rim. The vases decorated with a top border of shield lappets each hand painted with geometric shapes above multiple butterflies. The top layer features a continuous scene with multiple figures and children in traditional dress with polychrome colours beautifully painted to a high quality. The second layer partitioned by a gilt banding, features butterflies amongst blossoming chrysanthemums. The lower border of the vase is finished in a greek key style decoration with finely enamelled detail. The Satsuma vases date to the Meiji Period (1868-1912) circa 1895.

    Satsuma ware is a type of earthenware pottery originating from the Satsuma province in Southern Kyushu, Japan’s third largest island.

    Meiji Period was an era of Japanese history that spanned from 1868 to 1912. It was the first half of the Empire of Japan, when the Japanese people began to build a paradigm of a modern, industrialised nation state and emergent great power, influenced by Western countries and aesthetics. As a result of radically different ideas, the changes to Japan were profound and it affected the social structure, politics, economy, military, and foreign relations across the board. The period corresponded to the reign of Emperor Meiji and was preceded by the Keio era and was succeeded by the Taisho era.

    Cultural Art during the Meiji Period was of particular interest to the government and they overhauled the art export market which in turn promoted Japanese arts via various world’s fairs, beginning in Vienna at the world fair in 1873. The government heavily funded the fairs and took an active role organising how Japan’s culture was presented to the world including creating a semi-public company named Kiritsu Kosho Kaisha (First Industrial Manufacturing Company). The Kiritsu Kosho Kaisha was used to promote and commercialise exports of Japanese art and established the Hakurankai Jimukyoku (Exhibition Bureau) to maintain quality standards. For the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia, the Japanese government created a Centennial Office and sent a special envoy to secure space for the 30,000 items that would be displayed. The Imperial Household also took an active interest in arts and crafts, commissioning works by select artists to be given as gifts for foreign dignitaries further emphasising the high quality and importance of Japanese art. Just before the end of the 19th century in 1890, the Teishitsu Gigeiin (Artist to the Imperial Household) system was created to recognise distinguished artists. These artists were selected for their exceptionally high quality wares and talent in their own industry. Over a period of 54 years Seventy artists were appointed, amongst these were ceramicist Makuzu Kozan and cloisonné enamel artist Namikawa Yasuyuki.

    Measurements 10cm High x 7cm Diameter ( 3.94 x 2.76 inches)

    Condition Very Good, minor gilding wear to the rims, No restoration

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