Japanese Cloisonne Enamels

Although Chinese cloisonné usually comes to mind when the word is mentioned. The pinnacle of technical excellence and innovation  firmly rests with Japan and more specifically the period referred to as the ‘Golden Age’ of the medium between 1880 and 1910.

Gregory Irvine, Senior Curator in the Asian Department at the V&A is author of two books on the subject which are absolutely essential for collectors. Japanese Cloisonné (V&A 2006) as well as the current 96 page text Japanese Cloisonné Enamels (V&A 2011) in which Irvine explores these exquisite objects of elegant inlaid metalwork from late seventeenth-century right up into the twentieth.

Since my ability to describe these treasures adequately would only be a futile exercise, I will simply let you know that the V&A will host a special exhibition until 19 August 2012 to celebrate Edwin Davies’ donation of ninety objects from the most prestigious period of Japanese cloisonné production (which will enable you to experience these wonders for yourself).

For more information please visit the V&A website

V&A reading list for Japanese cloisonné






Joseph Fields