Incense Burner thumbnail 1
Incense Burner thumbnail 2
+23
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Japan, Room 45, The Toshiba Gallery

This object consists of 9 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Incense Burner

Incense Burner
ca. 1877/8 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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 £1,586 7s.2d. for the incense burner and needed special permission from the Treasury to make such a major purchase.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 9 parts.

  • Incense Burner
  • Lid
  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Base
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
Materials and Techniques
Cast and patinated bronze
Brief Description
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
Physical Description
Japanese incense burner on a cast bronze base of a tree-stump together with a peacock and peahen.
Dimensions
  • Height: 228.6cm
  • Width: 128.0cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'Dai Nihon Kako sei' (Signature; Japanese; under the bowl of the incense burner)
Summary
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 £1,586 7s.2d. for the incense burner and needed special permission from the Treasury to make such a major purchase.
Collection
Accession Number
188:1 to 9-1883

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record createdFebruary 17, 2004
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