This Japanese vintage set of six covered lacquerware bowls are decorated in a gold maki-e arabesque motif. The form of the bowls are unusual and modern, the continuous arabesque design in wide gold lines bold. In our opinion they appear more modern dating to the mid to late 20th century, however according to the seller from Japan they date to post turn of the 20th century.
They are real hand carved wood made with real hand-applied lacquer, over real hand painted gold arabesque design. This often takes three artisans, one wood carver, one painter and one lacquerware artist days and days to create. Iro-urushi is used, which is literally 'color lacquer', created by adding pigments to clear lacquer. The limits of natural pigments allowed only five colors- red, black, yellow, green and brown, until the 19th century when various innovations also appeared. The gold arabesque design is very well done almost as if a print, which it is not. The raised lid of the bowl is trimmed in a gold, not sure exactly what it is, but age would obviously denote maki-e. The bowls are carved with one ribbed portion towards the top where it meets the lid so it fits well; and tall compared to most. Instead of the old traditional half circle or moon shape, they are a wide cylindrical shape, larger at the top and could see the wood grain under a rim lacquer chip on one the bowls.
They are not signed so we do not know the maker. They are in near perfect condition, there are not cracks. There are a few chips to the glaze on a few lids which I can pull back out and make pictures of, I did not notice them until I read the description and saw one picture, in which the chip looks to be about 2-3 cm on the rim of the very top of the bowl. I took great care to take pictures of both pieces of all bowls from all sides and angles including the upside down bowls with the lids shown both ways. We do have a few more close ups, space was limited for six bowls. They are unsigned, we do not know the maker. They are most like Wajima, there are companies in Kyoto that make similar lacquer wares. This post is for the set of six covered tall vintage lacquer on wood with gold maki-e wonderful arabesque design. According to the Japanese dealer, they date to the early 20th century between the Meiji and Showa period or 1910--1940s.
SIZE: : Diameter 4.1 in. or 10.5 cm, Height 3.5 in. or 9 cm, Weight 745 grams total or 1.64 lbs total, or a little over 1/4 lb. each. We just corrected the shipping weight I believe it was a bit overstated and willing to work with areas far from us in U.S. for shipping, please remind me I said this.
History of Maki-e
There are detailed writings about lacquer and maki-e and the old history in Wiki to be found and since this post is so long will not post it here except the definition of maki-e.
Maki-e 蒔絵, literally: sprinkled picture is Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder as a decoration using a makizutsu or a kebo brush. The technique was developed mainly in the Heian Period 794–1185 and blossomed in the Edo Period 1603–1868. Maki-e objects were initially designed as household items for court nobles; they soon gained more popularity and were adopted by royal families and military leaders as a symbol of power.
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