Japanese Antique Bronze Suiban

Vintage Japanese Shallow Bronze Six Lobed Suiban | Signed

Age:Late Showa period (1940-1950)

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 2-1/2”h x 10-0” dia.

This is an antique Japanese large shallow bronze Suiban, or six lobed bowls serving two purposes, first for the display of Ikebana flower arrangements, and secondly as a bulb container for Spring flowers. The three feet supporting the bowl have been wonderfully cast to simulate cherry or plum blossom branches that have been incorporated into the sides of the bowl. The bronze Suiban has a beautiful, natural patina and in excellent unrestored condition. The piece is unsigned.

Vintage Condition: Exceptional, with excellent detailing, and patina. The piece is quite heavy, with the inlay all intact and,  “as is” with some minor light wear to the metal surface that does not affect the design, retaining the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, surface wear, or structural damage noted. 

NOTE: Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. It is more than simply putting flowers in a container. It is a disciplined art form in which the arrangement is a living thing where nature and humanity are brought together. The remarkably high development of floral art in Japan can be attributed to the Japanese love of nature. People in all countries appreciate natural beauty, but in Japan, the appreciation amounts almost to a religion. The Japanese have always felt a strong bond of intimacy with their natural surroundings and bringing that aesthetic into their living environment has continued to be highly valued.

Metalworking techniques had, of course, been brought to Japan from China and Korea even before the arrival of Buddhism. The first technology to reach Japan was that of casting bronze. Japan was fortunate enough to be blessed with rich natural resources of metals. As a result, domestic demand could be met entirely with domestic metal right up until the nineteenth century. Metalworking involves an extraordinarily wide variety of techniques, among them, casting, forging, chasing, damascene work, and cloisonné, and most of them are still being practiced in Kyoto today. Kyoto metal Inlay, (zogan), is the generic term for the technique of inserting pieces of one or more materials into a base material, creating patterns of silver and gold, representing a multitude of motifs treasured during the period of production.

After Japan opened its doors to the west at the end of the Meiji Restoration, (1920), and with the introduction of the Dutch East Indian Trading Company, foreigners were greatly attracted by the intricate, sumptuous beauty of Japanese metal inlay. Whereas in the past, the craftsmen had applied their techniques to sword guards, they now applied them to accessories and personal effects. The most favored designs featured landscapes, fauna, images of bamboo, tigers, Mount Fuji, Cherry Blossoms, mythological subjects such as dragons, and depiction of beautiful women. It was from this period that metal inlay produced in Kyoto became known as Kyo-zogan.