Vintage Japanese Kamakura-bori Lacquered Tea Trays | Mankai | Cherry Blossoms / Sakura Motif | 1920-1930

The “Sakura” trees in Japan are highly esteemed. From history we know that the Japanese samurai culture admired the cherry blossom due to the blooms short-lived lives. Cherry blossoms symbolize hope, (The intensity and liveliness of the cherry blossom gives the warrant for all people to optimistically dream and hope for wonderful experiences in their lives), and humility, (the flower serves as a reminder of mortality and knowing that the life of a human being can end anytime just like the flower).

As a design motif Sakura represent simplicity, spring and innocence. By Japanese who loved and adore the cherry blossom, it was an important symbol illustrated in paintings and crafts as a theme and motif, and was thought to enrich people’s lives.

Here is is a set of three, (3), beautifully stylized cherry blossom in full bloom and shaped in the form of presentation saucers. Each have 5 perfectly formed and deeply carved petals, (yaezakura), representing the complete blossom. Each stamen and eye of the blossom are individually carved to be three-dimensional. The back is fully lacquered in the same color with the round, short foot in black lacquer. The deep red color is exceptional, and along with age, affording a beautiful patina to each piece. Dimensions: 4-3/4” dia. x 1/4”h.

Additional Information —

Lacquerware offered artists a unique opportunity to make visibly attractive and abstract representation of sakura patterns. We see them used on tea and dinnerware, jewelry, textiles, furniture, and where cultural significance and aesthetics is important, (functional and decorative).

When the arts and crafts movement started, simple designs again resurfaced and the simple Sakura again, became an important motif. The Buddhist philosophy has long been associated with the impermanent state of life, and the fleeting life of cherry blossoms became a representation of that philosophy. This obviously influenced artists who wanted to incorporate the humble sakura into their designs. Each year during the Cherry Blossom season, the Japanese have a tradition of flower viewing called Hanami, which has been an old and ongoing tradition, when the beautiful trees and blossoms are in full bloom, (Migoro).

And finally, we see many things related to the number Three. Sanctity; the auspicious number; the first odd, yang number….Japanese tradition considers Three a lucky number. It is believed that groups of 3 in Japanese culture are even luckier. For example, a philosopher once said: ‘Three people are walking together; at least one of them is good enough to be my teacher.’ An Asian proverb goes that, “The wisdom of three ordinary people exceeds that of the wisest individual.” Moreover, Three has its origin in Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. It stands for Heaven, Earth and Humanity, and abstractedly found in all forms of art and design including Architectural, Ikebana and Bonsai.

For Historical information on Japanese Lacquer please see our Discovery Section:

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