Kettle, or ewer
Height (including handle) 15.2cm
Museum no. 894-1869
From the outset the V&A has collected objects from many different cultures and the first acquisition of Japanese cloisonné enamels came from the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1867. These are thought to be the earliest documented examples of Japanese cloisonné enamels in the West. Included in this initial purchase was this elegant vessel, having been bought for the not insignificant sum of £24.00. It must date from around 1860 and the wire-work and enamelling are clearly of the finest quality and compare very favourably with other cloisonné objects of the period. The dull blue enamel ground has fine brass (or gold) wires delineating a design of scrolling Chinese Grass (Japanese: karakusa), geometric, lucky Seven Treasures (Japanese: shippō) and floral motifs in a limited range of polychrome enamels.