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  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    1860-1880 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, with incised and applied decoration in patinated copper, silver and gilt, with shibuichi foot ring

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 3

Object Type
This decorative dish was made using many of the techniques found in the manufacture of traditional Japanese sword fittings. Silver was always regarded as a luxury commodity in Japan and was generally used only for inlay, so the use of silver for a single large object is significant. The rim of the dish is modelled as a piece of bamboo and the surface decoration is a naturalistic depiction of birds and wisteria (in various patinated alloys of copper and gold, some applied in relief) together with bamboo (executed in chisel cuts in imitation of brushstrokes, in a technique known as katakiri-bori).

Although we do not know the maker or manufacturer of this piece, it was part of a larger group of Japanese objects acquired from Londos & Co., with whom the designer Christopher Dresser (1834-1904) had close links. Many of the objects offered were rejected by the V&A as the acquisition of these objects raised questions about 'purchasing novelties in manufacture.'

This dish is typical of the types of Japanese objects with naturalistic designs (which inspired contemporary British designers) being exported to the West around 1880 . The V&A paid what at that time was the considerable sum of £18.00 for the dish.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


1860-1880 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silver, with incised and applied decoration in patinated copper, silver and gilt, with shibuichi foot ring


Depth: 2.5 cm, Diameter: 20 cm

Object history note

Acquired from Christopher Dresser's company, Londos & Co.Made in Japan

Descriptive line


Labels and date

British Galleries:
SILVER DISHES, Japanese and British

The Victorians were fascinated by the way in which the Japanese depicted every aspect of nature, down to the smallest insect. This use of natural forms inspired British designers such as the Houle brothers. This dish by them on the left also shows the influence of Japanese metalworking techniques using inlaid metals in contrasting colours, like the Japanese dish next to it. [27/03/2003]




East Asia Collection

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