Lidded Vase in the form of an Incense Burner


Lidded Vase in the form of an Incense Burner



This elaborately decorated vessel in the form of an incense burner was one of the most popular forms upon which the Meiji craftsman executed his skills. The lacquer inlay art shown here is known as Shibayama; named after the Shibayama area of present-day Chiba prefecture. Shibayama lacquers typically showcase gorgeously inlaid mother of pearl, sometimes using cut ivory, tortoiseshell or coral pieces depicting flora and fauna motifs, which are then lacquered. Shibayama differs from other inlaid lacquer arts in that the intricately carved inlay pieces instead of being embedded flush into the ground material, protrude in high relief above the surface to create an applique-like design.
The highly ornate decoration of Shibayama lacquerware appealed considerably to the taste of the late 19th-century collector. Shibayama ware displayed a superb range of materials crafted with a technical virtuosity never before seen by collectors of Japanese art.


Japanese Art

Object Type

Decorative Art Vase


Lacquer with silver fittings, applied enamels, and Shibayama-style decorative panels


Shibayama style; Meiji period


lacquer work


c. 1890


Shibayama prefecture, Japan