This incense burner is composed of two equal halves. It opens to be used for incense storage, and takes the shape of a ginko leaf. The glaze gives the piece a red color.
This is an incense container in the shape of a ginko leaf. The artist, Koyama Kyoko, struggled as a female potter in a trade dominated by male artists. She received recognition when she discovered a way to revive the forgotten techinique of natural ash glazes, which are commonly used in her work.
Circular tsuba, made of iron. Inside an exterior circle, eight smaller circles are placed with the same spacing. The eight circles are connected to the exterior circle as well as to the three center holes where kôgai, blade, and kozuka are placed. Each of the eight circles have a different family crests. The openwork technique seen here is called "marubori" (round carving). The surface is slightly textured by minute stippling.
Family crests were important markers of the samurai class, in which military and political connections and blood and marriage relationships heavily weighed and determined one’s social status. This tsuba with eight different family crests alludes that the owner has some kind of relationship to eight different households or lineages; either of his own household (One household used more than one crest, although usually there was one dominant than other crests), his relatives or his allies.
This small, flat metal piece has a circular shape and an openwork design. It has a triangular shaped sword hole in the center, flanked by two other holes, which are filled with shakudô (copper-gold alloy). The sword hole is mended with gold. Three crests, consisting of pawlownia leaves and flowers, are interconnected with vines. There are some abrasions on the center oval shape around the sword hole. The surface is slightly textured by minute stippling. The outer rim is slightly elevated from the inner design. This openwork carving technique is called "marubori" (round carving).
Tsuba (sword guard) is inserted between a sword handle and blade to protect hands from sharp blades. The center hole is where the sword is placed. The smaller holes are to insert kozuka (left), an ornamental stick, and kougai (right), a spatula-like stick which is said to be used for itching hair underneath hats or helmets. This particlar tsuba has three crests of "Gosangiri" (pawlownia with three-five-three flower petals), which perhaps was the family crest of the owner of the original sword.
This painting inculdes the seal of the artist Ren Xun. A crane stands in the foreground, with it's head and beak turned toward the viewer, revealing a patch of orangish red on its face. A pine tree arches across the background above.
Ren Xun, best known for painting birds and animals, was the younger brother of Ren Xiong’s (1823–1857). This elegant painting of a crane, a symbol of immortality, and pine and bamboo, symbols of longevity, is appropriate for birthday or New Year’s gifts. To suggest the cold season, Ren Xun chose orange pigment to depict the pine needles.
A medium size, well potted jar with round shoulder and shorter neck. Inside is not totally glazed. On the body, pine, bamboo, and plum trees are finely painted with blue underglaze. Then a translucent glaze is applied, which turns into milky, white color. It has three floral decorations on the shoulder; the decoration is originated in functional elements of “ears” to which ropes were tied for transportation. The neck has a band of double lines and spray design of peony flowers and leaves. The rim of the neck is unglazed. The foot is unglazed; eye is glazed. Some imperfections of glaze are seen toward the bottom. Glaze is scraped off on one part. Many speckles on the surface.
The three plants depicted here, pine, bamboo, and plum, are called “three friends in winter,” and have been depicted in many forms of Japanese decorative arts throughout its history. They symbolize long life and cultured gentlemen.