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Asian Art
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Maker Workshop of: Gotō, Japanese, active late 19th century

Vase with Blossoming Flowers

1890s

Cloisonné (enamels over metal)

71 5/8 × 26 in. (181.9 × 66 cm)
diameter at lip: 18 1/8 in. (46 cm)
diameter at base: 11 13/16 in. (30 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Nathan Baldwin
1899.4a

後藤工房 七宝焼大花瓶 明治期

Noted for its size, beauty, and technical finesse, this extraordinary vase has “Gotō” incised into the bottom, indicating that the object was made by the Gotō workshop in Yokohama. Although enamels had been known in Japan as early as the eighth century, the cloisonné technique—in which the colored glass is placed into cloisons, small areas delineated by metal wires—did not flourish until the sixteenth century. Covered in flowers, including cherry blossoms on the top half, this example illustrates a sophisticated variation popular in nineteenth-century Japan, in which the wires were eliminated and the enamels applied directly to the body. The vase was gifted to the Yale University Art Gallery in 1899: it became the first object of the Asian collection.

Geography: 
Japan
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Japanese
Period: 
Meiji era (1868–1912)
Classification: 
Containers - Metals
Provenance: 

Commisioned by Nathan Adolphus Baldwin (1824–1898), Milford, Conn., 1898 [see note 1]; by descent to Mrs. Nathan Baldwin (Caroline Whitney Baldwin,1823–1905), New Haven, Conn., 1898; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 9 February 1899

Note 1: See file for newpaper clippings, including an account from Yokohama, March 16, 1898 by W. C. Stone about the commissioning of this work from the Japanese cloissonne artist Goto Seizaburo (Shozaburo), Yokohama, Japan.

Bibliography: 

Sadako Ohki, “Japanese Art at Yale,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2007): 28–30, 42–43, ill. frontispiece, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.