Japan | Cloisonn, Shippo-yaki & Kyo-Satsuma Ceramics
(Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum) Enlarge
History of Japanese Edo & Meiji Period Cloisonn and Ceramics
Chinese Cloisonn | Japanese Cloisonn
Text & Images - Copyright © 2009 Kevin Hulsey
The process of inlayed enameling in Japan predates the Nara period (710 to 794), but became more widespread during the 1500s. This coincides with the advent of Chinese fired enamelware ("Blue of Jingtai") during the previous century. The Japanese cloisonn enameling process was called shippo-yaki, meaning "seven precious things." The enamel paste used to create shippo cloisonn was called doro shippo, or "paste enamel."
The "Golden Age" of Japanese Cloisonn production began in the late Edo period around 1808, and reached its zenith during the Meiji period from 1868 to 1912. During the the late Edo period, Japanese craftsman Tsunekichi Kaji developed a Cloisonn technique called "Yuusen-shippo" that used a delicate filigree wire made of brass, gold, or silver. The fine wire was glued rather than soldered to the base metal.
Yasuyuki Cloisonn Ginger Jar from Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum (Photos by Yoichi Kimura)
The majority of these early Japanese Cloisonn objects were manufactured for export to Western countries, and the design motifs found in these pieces reflected to tastes of Western collectors who were interested in "Asian" art. The Chinese scroll motif known as karakusa, which depicted branches and leaves was popularized during this shippo-yaki period.
Owari Cloisonn from Shippo-cho
The shippo cloisonn craft was centered around Tojima Village (now Shippo-cho), in Owari Province (now Aichi Prefecture) near Nagoya. One of the oldest known piece of Owari cloisonne is a sake cup from 1833 .
Early pioneers in Japanese Owari cloisonn techniques were Nagoya/Owari craftsmen Kaji Tsunekichi (1808 to 1883), Hayashi Kodenji (1831 to 1915), Ando Jubei, and Kawade Shibataro. Both Ando and Kawade introduced the French art of Piqu--jour cloisonn into their creations.
Cloisonn Teapot (Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum) - Enlarge
With the assistance of a German chemist named Gottfried von Wagner , the development of new methods for firing enamel provided the ability to create large fields of background color that were uninterrupted by multiple cell divisions.
By the late 1800s, the cloisonn craft made its way to Kyoto, where a local craftsman named Namikawa Yasuyuki made improvements to the art-form. So-called Kyoto shippo is distinguished by the use of gilt wire.
One of the most significant developments in the art of Owari Cloisonn was made by Namikawa Sosuke (1847 to 1910) in 1879, when he developed a technique for creating totally wireless enamelware. The total elimination of wire enabled the artisan to create elaborate scenic designs that were not possible with wire.
Kyoto Satsuma Ware (Kyo-Satsuma) Ceramics
Satsuma ware is a brown clay porcelain that is fired at a lower temperature. Originally created during the 16th century by Korean craftsmen living on Kyushu Island (Kagoshima prefecture) in southern Japan, Satsuma-ware production moved to the Kyoto region (kyoyaki) and the local Kinkozan Gen'emon ceramicists during the Edo period.
Kyo-Satsuma Ceramic Tea Bowl (Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum) - Enlarge
By the mid 1800s (Meiji Period), Kyo-Satsuma ware was a popular Japanese export, and ceramist Kinkozan Kobayashi became known for his polychrome overglaze enamels (iroe) produced at his Kagiya workshop in Kyoto.
Jiki Shippo Meiji Ceramic & Porcelain
Another of the major developments in the art of Cloisonn enameling during the Meiji period was the invention of jiki shippo porcelain cloisonn. In jiki shippo (aka totai jippo or musen jippo) enamelware the enamel pigments are applied to ceramic pottery or a porcelain base instead of metal .
Ceramic Kyoto Satsuma Ware from Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum (Photos by Yoichi Kimura)
The process of applying filigree wire and fired enamel to ceramic pottery was developed by Tsukamoto Kaisuke in 1868. Kyoto Satsuma earthenware became a popular base material for totai jippo.
1. Oppi Untracht, Jewelry Concepts & Technology - Complete Reference Guide . Doubleday
2. Woodrow Carpenter, History of Cloisonn Technique . www.ganoksin.com
3. Gregory Irvine, Japanese Cloisonn Enamels . Victoria & Albert Museum
5. Tokyo National Museum, Japanese Porcelain .
6. Russell-Cotes Museum, Meiji Period Shippo Cloisonn . www.russell-cotes.bournemouth.gov.uk
7. Traditional Crafts of Japan, Owari Cloisonn from Aichi Prefecture . www.kougei.or.jp
8. Ando Cloisonne, Shippo Cloisonn from Ando . www.ando-shippo.co.jp
9. Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum, Meiji Period Cloisonn & Kyo-Satsuma . www.sannenzaka-museum.co.jp