Lidded vessel, Nagoya c.1870-1880. Museum no. M.382-1911

Lidded vessel, Nagoya c.1870-1880. Museum no. M.382-1911

Lidded vessel
Unsigned
Nagoya, Japan
c.1870-1880
Height 19.4cm x max. width 22.3cm
Museum no. M.382-1911.

This vessel, described in the V&A's original register entry as a 'water-vessel' (Japanese: mizusashi) was the only piece of cloisonné the Museum acquired from a collection of eleven objects offered by Andō Jubei at the time of the 1910 Japan-British exhibition in London. The original notes in the acquisition correspondence attributing it the 'Taiko period' were later amended to date it to 1860, but it is more likely to be of slightly later manufacture. The eight sides appear to have been separately made then assembled and enamelled. The thick brass wire decoration is of chrysanthemum and small leaf-like shapes which may be intended more to retain the enamel, rather than for their decorative appeal.

The unfortunate passing up of an opportunity to purchase contemporary works by Andō can be explained by the fact that by the beginning of the twentieth century the V&A had adopted a policy of acquiring only historical works of art and had stopped buying anything new.