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Pair of vases, Meiji period (Japan, 1868-1912)

Cloisonné enamel vases worked in silver and gold wire, copper alloy rim and foot. H 145 cm and diam. 52 cm each.<br>

Date of entry at UNESCO

Donation faite à l’UNESCO par le Khalili Family Trust en 2014 en l’honneur de la Directrice générale

Country of origin

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© Photo: Khalili Family Trust

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Donated in 2014 by the Khalili Family Trust, at the initiative of the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Professor Nasser David Khalili, this pair of large Meiji-era Japanese cloisonné enamel vases present ovoid bodies and long trumpet shaped necks. The bodies decorated with large pink and white chrysanthemums, brown and green foliage and grey stems worked in gold and silver wire against a dark blue ground. Applied with copper alloy rims and feet.

This is a rare example of a piece of cloisonné enamel by one of several workshops in Japan that specialized in this type of ware. These were usually made under Imperial patronage and received high praise and accolades in Industrial Expositions. It is rare to find pieces of this size due to the practicality of the enameling process, which, in this case, would have required very large kilns. Mistakes and wasted material being costly on vases of this proportion, pieces of this type had to be worked out in fine detail in order to achieve the quality demonstrated here.

The Khalili Family Trust donation also includes a pair of Meiji-era bronze vases.