Japanese Silver & Enamel Lidded Box

Meiji Period (1868-1912) Circa 1900

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    Surmounted by a Butterfly

    From our Japanese collection, we are delighted to offer this Japanese Silver & Enamel lidded box. The box of small squat form, oval in shape with scalloped edges extensively decorated. The top of the box surmounted by a enamelled butterfly handle to open the lid with a flurry of silver and enamelled chrysanthemums, butterflies and other blossoming flowers within a pierced three dimensional setting. The box stands upon four beautifully crafted scrollwork silver feet lifting the base slightly from the floor. The top and bottom is bordered with rolling patterns and enamelled flowers finishing the exterior of the box. The box lifts to reveal a smooth silver internal with the scalloped edge matching the external shape of the box. The lidded box dates to the Meiji Period (1868-1912) circa 1900.

    Enamel (vitreous enamel) also known as porcelain enamel, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C. The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating. The word vitreous comes from the Latin vitreus, meaning “glassy”.

    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 5cm High x 10.5cm Wide x 9cm Deep (1.97 x 4.13 x 3.54 inches)

    Condition Excellent, No damage and No restoration

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