AN EXQUISITE MEIJI SATSUMA TRUMPET VASE BY KINKOZAN
Japanese, late 19th century, enameled earthenware. In the form of an archaic wine vessel of gilded ground, painted with florals, purple and white wisteria draped from the flaring neck, and a genre scene to the central band with slight relief throughout. Stylized Kinkozan Zo and Keizan marks underfoot with impressed Kinkozan mark near the footrim. Possibly a collaborative work by workshop masters such as Ryozan, Sozan, and contemporaries.
Lot Essay: 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.
-Bryan Laughlin Jr.
The Oliver B. Elsworth Collection:
Phebe Ann (Elsworth) Williams (1930-2017) was born in New York City on August 12, 1930 and grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, the daughter of Oliver Bayard Elsworth and Charlotte King (Gaston) Elsworth and granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fredrick Keiley Gaston of Greenwich and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Elsworth of New York. She was married to Mr. Keith Phillips Williams for 60 years.
Phebe was a long-time member of the Society of Colonial Dames in the State of Connecticut. She enjoyed a vital role in Kirkwood, MO community preservation and was the Curator of the Kirkwood Historical Society, Mudd's Grove Museum for 15 years, as well as a Board Member of the Missouri State Historical Society. Descending from a rich and storied historical American family, Phebe had a lifelong passion for literature, collecting antiques, interior decorating, poetry, and philanthropy.
Oliver Ellsworth (Connecticut, 1745-1807), one of the founding fathers of the United States of America and drafter of the original constitution, revolutionary to British rule, graduate of Princeton predecessor where he developed the Whig party although he himself was a declared Federalist, U.S. Senator, Minister to France, and 3rd Chief Justice of the United States;
Henry Leavitt Ellsworth (Connecticut, 1791-1858), first serving commissioner of the United States Patent Office, benefactor to Yale, commissioner to Indian Tribes of Western Frontier, and the founder of what was to become the United States Department of Agriculture as we know it today;
Henry Williams Ellsworth (Connecticut, 1814-1864) businessman and entrepreneur;
Edward Ellsworth (New England and Indiana, 1850-1924);
Oliver Bayard Elsworth (Greenwich, Connecticut 1893-1970);
Phebe Ann (Elsworth) Williams (Greenwich, Connecticut 1930-2017)
11.6 in. (29.5 cm.)
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