Japanese Cloisonne Ojime - A Visual Pun
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Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
07/20/2017, 12:23:02

From the collection of Fredric T. Schneider, author of The Art of Japanese Cloisonne Enamel: History, Techniques and Artists, 1600 to the Present.

I love this bead - it seems to show the bag from which spill treasures and other magical accessories of the Seven Lucky Gods of Japanese myth. Which makes it a visual pun - the word for cloisonne in Japanese is "shippo," also the word for Seven Treasures.

The characters for shippo 七宝, the Japanese term for enamels, refer to the Seven Treasures mentioned in Buddhist texts. These treasures include gold, silver, coral, agate, lapis lazuli and various gemstones. Like these precious materials, enamels glow with rich colour. [Victoria & Albert 2015 exhibit blurb]

Note the distinctively Japanese use of twisted wire, in this case representing the twisted silk cord in the bag ties.


Thoughts, anyone? Can anyone name all the various treasures? I recognize the magical hammer and the coral, and presumably the scattered little things are pearls and gemstones.

Meiji, from the golden age of Japanese cloisonne c 1890-1910? Perhaps even earlier?

FS_342_ojime.jpg (35.1 KB)  FS_342_ojime1.JPG (19.2 KB)  

Related link: http://www.schneiderjapanesecloisonne.com/
Modified by beadiste at Thu, Jul 20, 2017, 12:29:59

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