Pair of vases
Unsigned (attrib. Namikawa Yasuyuki)
Museum no. 360-1880
Purchased from Christopher Dresser's company, Londos & Co.
In 1880, the V&A acquired several items from Christopher Dresser's company, Londos & Co. including these two small unsigned vases, which may be early examples of the work of Namikawa Yasuyuki. That they might be of Kyoto origin was first suggested by Hayashi Tadamasa (1853-1906) when he visited the V&A in 1886 to assess the Japanese collections. Hayashi had studied at what is now Tokyo University and served as an interpreter at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1878; he stayed on in Europe and became a significant advisor and dealer in Japanese art.
The vases have a transparent brown enamel ground almost totally covered with a brass wire decoration of stylised clouds, Japanese cranes, chrysanthemums and pine-boughs. The cranes and pines are both symbols of longevity. The rims and foot-rings are of gilded copper.