Meiji Taisho Art - Archives

Metalwork - KJA1550

Okimono or sculpture in the form of a branch of flowering spider chrysanthemum. Of cast and patinated bronze. Signed on the reverse with a chiseled signature by the artist: Joun Saku or  Made by Joun (oshima Joun, the  go or art name of oshima Yasutaro, 1858 – 1940). Early Showa era, circa 1928 – 1930.

With the tomobako or original box, signed on the reverse of the lid by the artist: Ichijoken Joun Saku or Made By Ichijoken Joun, and sealed: Joun no In or Seal of Joun.

oshima Joun was a professor at the Tokyo School of Fine Art from 1887 until 1932, and he was famous for his great skill in bronze casting. Born to a family of metalworkers, Joun succeeded to the family business in 1877 and the same year adopted the art name “Joun.” By 1879, he had built up the business to the point that he had 11 assistants working in his studio. Much of his work from this time period was sold through high-level commissioning houses such as Honda, Sanseisha, and Murakami Heishichi. He exhibited at the 2nd National Industrial Exposition in 1881, and at such international venues as the Paris Exposition in 1900 and the London Japan-British Exposition in 1910.

A vase by oshima Joun is illustrated in the catalogue from the Museum of the Imperial Collections, Reappraisal of Meiji Art I: The era of Meiji Bijutsu-kai and Nihon Kinko Kyokai, number 33. Another example of his work is illustrated in Meiji no Takara: Treasures of Imperial Japan, Metalwork Part II, number 102.

For other examples of Joun’s work, c.f. also Kagedo’s catalogues Breaking Light, numbers 26 and 29, and Yukei, number 85.

This is an extraordinary example of metal casting and a masterpiece of Joun’s work. All of the long, curling petals, and leaves were cast together at once. A very similar spray of chrysanthemum by Joun in the Imperial Collections is illustrated in Grace, Beauty, and Ingenuity – Masterpieces of the Museum of the Imperial Collections, Sannomaru Shozokan, Volume 2, page 97, number 85, which is dated to circa 1928.

5” high x 10 ¾” wide x 7 ¼” deep.


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