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Currently on public display
+ Display Store, Powerhouse Discovery Centre, Castle Hill
Decorative Metalwork > Serviette rings

+ H181 Pair of bone serviette rings, skill...
+ 2006/147/4 Napkin rings (2), sterling si...
+ 2006/147/4-1 Napkin ring, and pouch, ste...
+ 2006/147/4-2 Napkin ring, and pouch, ste...
+ 89/1274 Serviette holder, earthenware, E...
+ H5761 Serviette ring / Scrimshaw, 'New C...
+ 86/309 Napkin rings (pair) sterling silv...
+ A346 Ivory ring, carved with relief pict...
+ H8141-165 Part of: Serviette rings (3), ...
+ H8141-166 Part of: Serviette rings (3), ...
+ H8141-167 Part of: Serviette rings (3), ...
+ H8141-168 Crude boat or serviette ring (...
+ 93/130/2 Napkin ring, earthenware, Garde...
+ 93/130/3 Napkin ring, earthenware, Garde...
+ A5716 8 napkin rings. (1-3) Bone napkin ...
+ A5721 One metal table napkin ring, late ...
+ A7664-8 Napkin in metal ring from doll's...
+ 97/277/1 Serviette rings (4) in box, ste...
+ A8313E Table napkin ring, plated silver,...
+ 2000/40/1 Serviette ring, 'Digger', elec...
+ A10694 Napkin ring, silver, Stokes & Son...
+ A10965-6 Napkin ring, silver, maker unkn...
+ 2002/81/1 Napkin ring, sterling silver, ...
+ 2002/81/2 Napkin ring, sterling silver, ...
+ 2002/81/3 Napkin ring, sterling silver, ...
+ 2002/81/4 Napkin ring, sterling silver, ...
+ 2002/81/5 Napkin ring, sterling silver, ...
+ 2002/81/6 Napkin rings (2), sterling sil...
+ 2002/81/6-1 Napkin ring, sterling silver...
+ 2002/81/6-2 Napkin ring, sterling silver...
+ 2002/81/7 Napkin ring, sterling silver, ...
+ 2002/81/8 Napkin ring, sterling silver, ...
+ 2002/81/9 Napkin ring, sterling silver, ...
+ 2002/81/10 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/11 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/12 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/13 Napkin rings (2), sterling si...
+ 2002/81/14 Napkin rings (2), sterling si...
+ 2002/81/15 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/16 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/17 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/18 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/19 Napkin ring, sterling silver ...
+ 2002/81/20 Napkin ring, sterling silver ...
+ 2002/81/21 Napkin Rings (2), sterling si...
+ 2002/81/22 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/23 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/24 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/25 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...
+ 2002/81/26 Napkin ring, sterling silver,...



Three Japanese cloisonne napkin rings
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Object statement
Napkin rings [3], cloisonne, maker unknown, Hamikawa, Kyoto, Japan, date unknown
Cloisonné is an ancient metalworking technique that was first developed in the Near East, before spreading to the Byzantine Empire and from there along the Silk Road to China, where it was then imported to Japan. Thin strips of wire were soldered to a metal body and the voids (cells or cloisons) were filled in successive stages with liquid enamel, fired hard. The vessel was then ground down and polished to reveal the final detailed effect.

During the late 19th century, the museum collected a significant number of artefacts from the Asia-Pacific region. These acquisitions reflect the Western fashion for Japanese objects, linked to the Aesthetic movement and to the interest in wares displayed by non-European countries at international exhibitions throughout the world, including the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879. As expertise in many of the museum's areas of collecting was lacking, it was not uncommon for the museum to advance sums of money to an individual to acquire 'specimens of art wares' from the country in which they resided or were to visit.

These napkin rings are part of the Museum's Liversidge collection. Archibald Liversidge was professor of geology and mineralogy at Sydney University, 1882-1907, and a founding member of the Museum's first Trust. In 1887 he was granted overseas study leave from the university, and on his way to Europe spent time in Fiji, Java and Japan. While in Tokyo Liversidge made contact with the president of the Imperial University and held discussions concerning the exchange of specimens.

The Museum had advanced Liversidge the sum of £100 to purchase 'Japanese art wares'. In a letter written from Tokyo to fellow trust member Robert Hunt, Liversidge states, 'I have bought some things for the museum, but the amount is too small to do much with'. While in London, Liversidge continued to pursue the acquisitions of Japanese decorative arts.

These items are among the 139 items that Liversidge purchased. Others include ceramics, decorative metalwork, dress, embroidered articles, swatchbooks and a collection of sixty-eight carpenters' tools. This collection is indicative ofthe Museum's collection practices at the time, and in addition assists in documenting developments in Japanese art wares. The items collected by Liversidge were acquired during a significant period of Japanese history, the country having only recently re-opened to Western trade.

REF:
Bilney, Elizabeth (ed), 'Decorative Arts and Design from the Powerhouse Museum', Powerhouse Publishing, 1991
Coben, Lawrence A, and Dorothy C Ferster, 'Japanese Cloisonné: History, Technique, and Appreciation', Weatherhill, New York, 1982
Garner, Sir Harry, 'Chinese and Japanese Cloisonné Enamels', Faber and Faber, London, 1970
Richards, Dick, 'Japan: Three Worlds', Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 1999
Volker, T, The Animal in Far Eastern Art and especially in the art of the Japanese Netsuke with references to Chinese origins, traditions, legends, and art', E J Brill, Leiden, 1975
Cloisonne is a multi-step enamel process used to produce jewellery, vases and other decorative items. The process of cloisonne is quite complex. It first involves the artist forming the metal into the shape of the finished object, then using a paper pattern and a pencil to transfer the design to the metal object. After this partitions that act as colour-separators are applied according to the transferred pattern and are held in place by a soldering paste. The partitions are bent and cut to length from flat wire stock (usually by hand using simple pliers) while the paste is applied using a small brush. The metal piece is then heated in an oven which permanently affixes the partitions to the base metal by melting the solder, before it is cooled. Frit (glass crushed to a powder) in a water based paste is painted into the partitions using an annotated pattern. After the frit has dried, firing in an oven melts it onto the metal. Several repetitions of the process may ensue to build up the coatings to the height of the partitions. Various colours and transparancies may be used in combination within a single partition to obtain the desired artistic effect. Then the glass and a portion of the cloisonnes are ground and polished to form an even and smooth surface. Finally, the exposed metal is electroplated with a thin film of gold to prevent corrosion and to give a pleasing appearance.
During the early 1600s Japanese rule banned nationals from either going abroad or returning home if already out of the country. Similarly foreigners, including missionaries and traders, were expelled from the country and banned from entering, leaving the country in relative isolation for a century and a half. This was largely due to fear of military conquests by European powers, along with the fear that outside ideas might upset social order and cultural traditions. This period, although isolating, allowed for an exploration of identity and culture and lead to productivity and refinement of Japanese artistic, social and religious heritage. Early Japanese cloisonné catered to the wealthy merchant class and ruling samurai, and took the form of sword furniture, such as tsubas, and decorative objects. Cloisonné increasingly developed to include vessels and other items.

In July 1853 the US Navy entered the bay at Edo, demanding that Japan resume trade with the West. Fifteen years later the shogun resigned, being replaced by the Emperor. In March 1876, during the Meiji period (1868-1912), the Hatôrei edict was passed, officially abolishing the samurai as a class and ending their privilege of carrying swords.

This edict, along with the fact that Japan had recently opened to Western trade, marked a decline in the demand for cloisonné within Japan, with Japanese goods being replaced by those of European or American manufacture. Japan, however, held tremendous fascination to Western countries. Promotion of Japanese cloisonné and other items at international exhibitions such as the 1867 Paris International Exposition led to the export of numerous products from Japan, thus providing an alternate marketplace for traditional artists.

During this time the Museum endeavoured to build on its collection from this region, with major acquisitions coming from museum committee member Professor Archibald Liversidge in 1887 and from Father Julian Tenison-Woods (1832-1889), a geologist and spiritual adviser of the Blessed Mary MacKillop, in 1889-90. Unlike Liversidge, who collected with an intellectual eye, Woods' collection is exotica, souvenirs of 'celestial' difference from European standards.

REF:
Coben, Lawrence A, and Dorothy C Ferster, 'Japanese Cloisonné: History, Technique, and Appreciation', Weatherhill, New York, 1982
Garner, Sir Harry, 'Chinese and Japanese Cloisonné Enamels', Faber and Faber, London, 1970
Richards, Dick, 'Japan: Three Worlds', Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 1999

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Napkin rings [3], cloisonne, maker unknown, Hamikawa, Kyoto, Japan, date unknown

Group of three cloisonne napkin rings decorated with a band of butterflies and floral motifs on black and maroon backgrounds. The interior of all the napkin rings are plain and have not been enamelled.

Made: Kyoto, Japan


Used: Japan
Marks
None
14970
Diameter
450 mm

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Purchased 1887
Subjects
+ Japanese culture
+ Domestic life
+ Butterflies
Currently on public display
+ Display Store, Powerhouse Discovery Centre, Castle Hill
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/4270
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{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/4270 |title=Three Japanese cloisonne napkin rings |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=1 November 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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