An Exquisite Meiji Satsuma Trumpet Vase by Kinkozan
Rivaling museum collection gems and the finest works to emerge from Kyoto, then Japan’s Imperial capital, this immaculate vase of outstandingly proud and tall trumpet form stands higher than many Satsuma vessels at 11.6″ high (29.5 cm). The creators responsible were unquestionably sitting on thrones of artistic genius and mastery unparalleled.
There is no need to exhaust rhetoric regarding the pinnacle of Satsuma, the answer is simple and rests with the 6th generation Kyoto Awataguchi potter, Kinkozan Sobei IV (1824-1884) with family name Koboyashi and studio name, Kagiya (see:Japanese Biographical Index, B. Wispelway, Muchen 2004). Sometimes referred to as Kinkozan VI due to the fact that in the century prior, the 3rd generation Kobayashi was granted the name “Kinkozan” by the Shogun so the line of potters was thought to have started two generation earlier; hence, his son bearing the final name Kinkozan VII (1868-1927).
This particular piece of Kinkozan treasure, a marvel of the “Kindai” and just later Meiji Restoration, will definitively become known as the “Elsworth Kinkozan Vase” by scholars and collectors alike, accelerated by the fact that the concept and execution are untouchable. The rim of discreet lip is flawlessly gilt painted in diamond pattern chrysanthemum to the flaring trumpet neck festooned with masterfully handled wisteria tapering to center socle, the y-axis companions of which are rows of delicately and skillfully applied multi-color repeating gilt patterns that will leave the discerning viewer in stupor. Said socle, delineated and painted with outrageously skillful precision and restraint, likely represents the Autumn moon festival celebration named ‘Tsukimi’ (note the prominent placement of the enameled moon above figures including a young female attendant serving dango, a specific Tsukimi food). The vessel is supported by a similarly sized inverted conical base with gilt ground painted over with clusters of various flora. The finished underside perfectly identified with a centered gold square seal, red artist seal, and impressed mark. An extant appraisal and documentation of the piece was performed for the family by Appraisal Affiliates of New York in 1959.