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Incense burner
  • Incense burner
    Suzuki, Chokichi, born 1848 - died 1919
  • Enlarge image

Incense burner

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1877/8 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Suzuki, Chokichi, born 1848 - died 1919 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast and patinated bronze

  • Museum number:

    188:1 to 9-1883

  • Gallery location:

    Japan, Room 45, The Toshiba Gallery, case EXP []

This superb incense burner (Japanese: koro) by the artist Suzuki Chokichi (here using his art name Kako) was displayed at the 1878 Paris Universal Exhibition. The Japanese government-sponsored manufacturing company Kiryu Kosho Kaisha had a large and successful display in the Japanese pavilion in the exhibition and it was here that Chokichi’s great koro was displayed. Suzuki Chokichi produced some of his greatest work specifically for display at international exhibitions. These events took place at regular intervals and in various cities of the world following the enormous success of the Great Exhibition held in London in 1851. They were very significant, both politically and culturally, and were staged to encourage trade, improve international relations and to educate and entertain the public.

The koro is cast in several pieces: the bowl with handles is one part (cast in sections); the upper part of the burner is a separate section, as is the lid (with separately cast and fixed knob); the base was also cast in sections. It has been naturalistically modelled in the form of a tree stump and roots, with a peacock and peahen standing on it. The tree stump may have been cast from a real piece of wood, a process known to have been carried out by other 19th-century Japanese metalworkers. The extremely realistic detailing of the birds suggests that the artist may have worked from live models. For some of his later work Chokichi kept live birds in his studio so that he could record in minute detail their every attitude and physical detail.

The koro was bought by Siegfried Bing, a prominent Parisian dealer who later offered it to the V&A. The V&A paid Bing the astonishing sum of £1,568 7s.2d. for the incense burner and needed special permission from the Treasury to make such a major purchase.

Physical description

Japanese incense burner on a cast bronze base of a tree-stump together with a peacock and peahen.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Date

ca. 1877/8 (made)

Artist/maker

Suzuki, Chokichi, born 1848 - died 1919 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cast and patinated bronze

Marks and inscriptions

'Dai Nihon Kako sei'
Great Japan, made/manufactured by Kako (Chokichi's art name)
Signature; Japanese; under the bowl of the incense burner

Dimensions

Height: 228.6 cm, Width: 128.0 cm

Descriptive line

Met, Japan, vess/cont/holders

Met, Japan, vess/cont/holders

peacock; Met, Japan, vess/cont/holders

Peahen; Met, Japan, vess/cont/holders

Met, Japan, vess/cont/holders

Met, Japan, vess/cont/holders.
Foot from missing bird

Met, Japan, vess/cont/holders.
Foot from missing bird

Met, Japan, vess/cont/holders.
Pin to fix missing bird

Met, Japan, vess/cont/holders.
Pin to fix missing bird

Categories

Sculpture

Collection

East Asia Collection

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