Condition: Excellent, Great

“Tree-Bark” Cloisonne | Pair of Japanese Globular Vases on Porcelain

Jiki-shippo literally, “porcelain-enamel,” is enamel work that is decorated on a porcelain body or foundation that has been fired at a high temperature. Also commonly referred to as totai shippo, which is a more general term used to include ceramic, earthenware or porcelain bases. “Tree-bark” cloisonne’ is a sub-category of Totai Cloisonne’, and is relatively fragile due to the delicate surfacing technique which will sometimes chip or crack around the edges because of the porcelain base.

The process of making Jiki-shippo cloisonné is rather complicated. It begins with the porcelain base formed into different shapes of vases, jars, and bowls, to which flat bronze wires are then affixed in decorative patterns. Enamels of different colors are applied to fill the cloisonné or hollows.

These tree bark cloisonné “ginger jars”, or globular vases, are decorated with a bird and flowermotif worked primarily in shades of brown, green, orange and red enamels. The porcelain areas exhibit a creamy white finish. There is good attention to detail, i.e., the various flowers, petals, buds, and pistils worked in different shades of enamel, portions of the bird’s wings being finished with a matt surface in contrast to other polished or rough portions. There is a wonderful border with geometric details around the neck and bottom of the pieces.

Totai Cloisonne’ vases were only made for a short period of time, and were discontinued because of the difficulty in producing specimens that were not flawed or damaged in manufacture. Specimens of this quality are very difficult to find in excellent condition. Both ginger jars have their original lids, which is rare, and show slight cracking of the surface around the side edge of each lid. The body of the vases are in flawless condition. The pieces are not signed. Age: Meiji period. This is a matching pair and priced accordingly. Dimensions: 7-1/2”h x 5-0”dia.

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