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  • Place of origin:

    Nagoya (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1870-1880 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper, cloisonné enamels

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This tall vase is one of the early pieces by Kaji Tsunekichi (1803–1883) of Nagoya in Owari Province (modern Aichi Prefecture). Tsunekichi is usually credited with the renaissance of Japanese cloisonné manufacture.

He, along with other early makers of cloisonné, had to overcome many technical problems, particularly in the application of the enamels. Early works, such as this piece, are characterised by the use of a larger number of background wires. These wires were both decorative and practical. They formed an integral part of the design and also prevented the enamels from running during firing. The patterns created by the wires on many of these early pieces often took the form of stylised waves, clouds, key-fret patterns, and scrolling ‘karakusa’ (Chinese grass). Dragons were also a popular motif.

In 1871 the Nagoya Cloisonné Company (Nagoya Shippo Kaisha) was established at Toshima, just outside Nagoya. So many cloisonné-manufacturing companies sprang up in and around Toshima that the area came to be known as Shippo-mura (‘cloisonné village’) or Shippo-cho (‘cloisonné town’). It rapidly became Japan’s main centre of cloisonné production.

Physical description

Vase with cloisonné enamel decoration of a writhing dragon.

Place of Origin

Nagoya (probably, made)


1870-1880 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Copper, cloisonné enamels


Height: 63.5 cm

Descriptive line

Tall vase with cloisonné enamel decoration of a dragon, leaping carp, flowers and abstract geometric motifs.




East Asia Collection

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