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Currently shown

Flower Vase with Flying Handles (mimikuchi)

Location

JAPAN, probably ECHIGO PROVINCE

Era

Edo period (1615-1868)

Title

Flower Vase with Flying Handles (mimikuchi)

Date

Late 18th-early 19th c.

Materials

Bronze

Dimensions

30 x 44 x 24 cm

Credits

Gift of Sybil and David Fleming in honour of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' 150th anniversary, inv. 2010.44

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

This elegant flower vase with large flying handles (mimikuchi) exudes sophistication and refinement without losing sculptural strength. Its shape and the spirals on its belly are loosely based on Chinese ceramic vessels from the ancient Han dynasty. Japan’s exchange with China during the Kamakura and Muromachi periods in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries encouraged the importation of Chinese bronze vessels for domestic decoration and marks the moment when the contemporary craze for karamono (all things Chinese) was at its height. When the art of flower arrangement and the tea ceremony became distinctively Japanese cultural pursuits, Japanese bronze casters adapted their repertoire by producing new and innovative forms loosely based on Chinese sources but more appealing to the Japanese taste. The wide, flat mouth of the vase was meant to enhance the aesthetic balance between the flowers and the vase.

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