Cloisonné tray featuring bats and an otter within a floriated border. Manufactured in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, in the early Meiji period (1868-1880).

The process of inlaid enamelling (cloisonné) in Japan dates back to the 8th century. Popular throughout Japan over the centuries, technical developments in the 19th century saw it reach its zenith in the Meiji period (1868-1912). The most important technical development being the 'Yuusen-shippo' method developed by Tsunekichi Kaji in 1833, in which fine filigree wires of brass, gold or silver are glued rather than soldered onto base metal. Then in 1868 Tsukamoto Kaisuke developed a process of applying filigree wire and fired enamel to ceramic pottery, known as 'Jitai Shippo'. And in 1879, Namikawa Sosuke (1847 to 1910) developed a technique for creating totally wireless enamel ware, 'Musen-shippo'. The elimination of wire enabled the artisan to create elaborate scenic designs that were not possible with wire.

Physical Description

Small, rounded rectangular plate. Border of stylised flowers on white ground around a scene depicting an otter looking up at two bats. Underside decorated with interweaving white-blue flowers on lilac ground. No markings.

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