Japan is well known for its lacquerware. According to “Millers Antiques Encyclopedia 2008” “The technique of lacquering involves the application of numerous layers of varnish made from the sap of the Rhus vernicifer tree onto wood, leather, or fabric. When dry, the layers form a hard crust, which can be carved in relief.” Popular materials used to inlay included stones, shells, and in our case here, ivory and mother of pearl.
In fact, the highlight of this piece is the decorative inlaid bone and gorgeous toned mother of pearl. Bone can often time be mistaken for ivory but it does enabled the artist to capture details giving a realistic presentation.
It was not long ago that we shared an Antique Adventure of a distant relative of one of our consignment clients. Satsuma Not Pottery Their relative worked on the Trans Siberian Railroad. Upon completion of his work he purchased several items in Asia to bring home to the United States. Dresser top trinket boxes, the Satsuma Vase and this Japanese panel were among many Asian antiques that made the journey.
This panel is gem of an antique from Japan. Carved bone and mother of pearl are inlaid in a black lacquer wood base panel. I really enjoy the fantastic patina accumulation on the ivory. Our sources place it in the Meiji Period dating from around 1868 to 1912. This time period was the “heyday of Japanese figure-carving…in the late 19th century”according to Judith Miller.
Additionally, the original owners have documented history that their relative worked on the Siberian Railroad and traveled abroad through Asia. However, it is likely that this was manufactured for export and in this case, visiting tourists.
In fair condition with exquisite artistry and detail. In need of repair, visible chips, cracks, crazing, scratches and obvious missing pieces of bone and mother of pearl. At least eight different pieces. The bottom left side corner with a cracked seam.
Having said all that, this pieces still captures you! Measuring 42in. Tall, 21in. Wide, and 1in. Thick. It has a captivating presentation and the detail carving and artistry make it a must have! There are more photos below.