Japanese Satsuma Vase Ryozan Yasuda Company

Decorated with Genpuku (Boys Day)

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    Painted by Okamoto Ryozan 

    From our Japanese collection, we are delighted to offer this Japanese Satsuma Vase Painted by Okamoto Ryozan for the Yasuda Company. The vase of tapered ovoid form with circular foot, flat shoulders with pinched neck and rolled top rim. The vase beautifully painted by the head painter at the Yasuda Company, Okamoto Ryozan with a continuous scene depicting genpuku (boys day) framed within gilt geometric borders below alternating scenes with birds and one hundred treasure style decoration. The top of the vase is finished with fan shaped paintings containging flowers. Signed to the base in gilt Dai Nippon, Kyoto Tojiki, Goshi Kaisha, Okamoto Ryozan. The vase dates to the Meiji Period (1868-1912) and the first quarter of the 20th century circa 1905.

    Genpuku is known as the coming of age day. It is a public holiday in Japan held annually on the second Monday of January under the Happy Monday System. It is held in order to congratulate and encourage all those who have already reached the age of maturity between April 2nd of the previous year and April 1st of the current year, and to help them realise that they have become adults. Ceremonies are held at local and prefectural offices as well as after-parties among family and friends in celebration of reaching adulthood. Throughout Japanese history coming of age ceremonies have been celebrated since at least 714 CE. during the reign of Empress Genmei when a young prince donned new robes and a hairstyle to mark his passage into adulthood. Rituals in celebration include Genpuku (changing to adult clothing) and Fundoshi-iwai (loincloth celebration) for boys and Mogi (dressing up) and Keppatsu (tying the hair up) for girls. Japanese culture treats such ceremonies as rites of passage for children reaching adulthood.

    Yasuda Company was founded in 1896 by Gensei and Yoshizaburo Yasida two brothers from Kyoto. The companies full name is Yasuda Kyoto Tojiki Goshikaisha which translates to Yoshida Kyoto Ceramic Joint Stock Company. They were a manufacturer and dealership based in Kyoto and active during the second half of the Japanese Meiji-era specialising in decorative works including Cloisonne and Ceramics, today they are best-known for their Satsuma pottery wares. The company gained a good reputation and great respect for their high quality works which were executed by some of the best artists of their time. As well as Okamoto Ryozan, they worked with celebrated artists such as Sozan, Kizan, Hozan and Seikozan.

    Ryozan was born Nakamura Tatsunosuke and was trained by the legendary 10th generation potter Nishimura Zengoro who himself, used the artist’s name “Ryozan”. After Nishimura’s death in 1851, Nakamura Tatsunosuke adopted the name “Okatomo Ryozan” in order to pay tribute to and honour his master. Ryozan went on to become the Head Artist at the Yasuda Company of Kyoto where he confirmed his reputation as one of the great Satsuma artists of the generation.

    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.

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

    Condition Excellent, no damage and no restoration

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