vase (household miscellany)

One of a pair of identical large cloisonné enamel vases of cast bronze or copper, with a carved ironwood stand (21ii). Contemporary description: 'On the vase around the neck are designed two dragons, of brown and blue green; below, around its widest circumference, are five panels or medallions with different figures in each, half bird, half woman, some playing on musical instruments. The panels are surrounded by the chrysanthemum treated in a conventional and realistic manner. Between these medallions the 'hoho' is treated in a decorative manner, and below this a border of birds &c encircles the vase. Then come upright panels of confronting dragons and 'hoho' (or mythical) birds, alternately placed with dark and light background; the lower part of the body of the vase is a plain dark blue enamel. The base is also exquisite in colour, and the harmony of tints most pleasing, although somewhat different to the upper part, birds and flowers are interwoven, treated in a more or less conventional manner, with here and there medallions filled with geometric devices. Looking at the vase as a whole, one is struck with admiration at the marvellous delicacy of execution and fertility of invention displayed; both in the brilliancy of colour and beauty of design. The wire generally used throughout is of brass, while some of the panels are outlined (as it were) with a thicker silver wire, giving relief and variety to the whole.'

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