Antique Japanese Finely Woven Bronze Tray | Meiji Period
The Japanese have always enjoyed combining sculptural and functional forms with unusual and unexpected materials to produce visually and physically creative works of art. Much of the bronze process has remained unchanged throughout time—certainly, the essential interaction of the alloy and the manipulation of metals and the deep emotional connection of artist to the alchemy of bronze endures. As the use of bronze throughout Asia became more ubiquitous, people began cooking in bronze pots, and wearing bronze jewelry, creative artistic works, and weaving bronze into various decorative and functional elements were valued, along with the making of religious objects. All are highly valued items.
This rectangular bronze tray is in wonderful, excellent condition, with flora engraved and colored on the bottom of the piece. It is identified to be from the Meiji period (1868-1912), based on the stylization of the floral motifs and hand craftsmanship. It is fully intact with no breaks in the metal wire and ranked as excellent. There is also an interesting color variation of the metal throughout the piece. Dimensions: 11-0”l x 4-0”w x 1-0”d
Mixed metals, particularly bronze and copper continued to be an important collectible. The Japanese government decided to concentrate on exhibiting handcrafts throughout Europe because Japan’s industrial products were still undeveloped and the government judged that handcrafts were the only thing capable of communicating Japan’s unique character in product design. Foreign observers commented at the time that Japanese metalworking techniques were extremely precise, all the various alloys used were of different colors, and their chemical coloring techniques were also superb.
The 19th century marked the apogee of foreign acclaim of Japanese metal crafts. The uncompromising realism of their designs and highly refined skills were applauded as a product of a country that had developed a very different kind of culture and understanding of celebrating the natural use of materials.