Metal Work – Kinzoku zaiku


From as early as the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.), and possibly earlier, Chinese bronzes were exported to Japan and Korea. Heavily influencing ceramic shapes, Chinese bronze vessels were initially used in Japanese temples for religious ceremonies. Later, their use as containers in the Tea Ceremony that developed in Japan during the 14th Century, and as flower vases for Ikebana, (flower arrangement), became widespread.

Though the Japanese had been casting metal through the lost wax process since the 700’s, it was the 1800’s that put the Japanese metalworkers on the map, with their wide variety of vessels. No people but the Japanese have understood the value of color in metal…in many of their works we see gold, silver, copper, zinc, black-metal, teaurn bronze, green bronze, and other metals…To them there are only so many materials with which things of beauty may be produced. Today, bronze and iron teapots, bronze bowls and vases inlaid with mixed metals (a process called zogan) and other methods such as Shakudo (Gold Alloy) Shibuichi (Silver Alloy), mokugame (fused metals), pewter and silver sake pourers and cups, and “repousse’’ work on copper incense burners and other vessels comprise a highly desirable and collectible market.

Cloisonne’: Japanese enameling on metal first appeared during the Momoyama Period (1573-1615), with enamel decoration of small metal objects such as sword fittings and door pulls. The craft of cloisonne’ was eventually revived in the early 1800’s, and in the mid-1800’s, when several Japanese ports were opened to foreign countries. A demand for Japanese goods resulted, and the art of cloisonne’ developed and flourished because of this demand. One reason for this late development was a lack of interest by the Japanese, and a lack of appeal to their taste. Without the approval of the tea ceremony artists, cloisonne’ was not recognized as an art treasure.

mingeiarts has numerous pieces in this category ranging from vases, plates, and boxes.

Please enjoy the attached video in an effort to gain a fuller perspective of the subject.

Our special thanks to: The Traditional Crafts of Japan | Japan Traditional Craft Center and Kaneko Osamu | Silo, Ltd.- Hayashibara Group | Japan Foundation

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