Water Dropper, Chrysanthemum design in cloisonné


Water Dropper, Chrysanthemum design in cloisonné

metalwork / Edo

Edo period, 17th-18th century


縦4.9 横10.8 高2.1


When writing with a brush, ink is created by applying water to an inkstone and then rubbing hardened ink on top. Water droppers are used to hold the water. In East Asia and other regions with a history and custom of brush writing, water droppers were used in a set together with inkstones, brushes, and ink, for example. Water droppers have a long history in Japan too. During the Edo period, from the 17th century onwards, they were also used as ornaments for desks or cabinets. This led to an increase in ornamental designs such as animals or plants.

Water droppers feature materials like metal, porcelain, and glass. This dropper is made of copper, a material believed to keep water fresh while producing a richly-colored ink. It also features a large chrysanthemum in the center with a bud on top and leaves to the left and right. The bud and leaves are decorated with yellow, white, and green cloisonné. The use of cloisonné is restrained, but this actually adds to the charming impression. With cloisonné, a vitreous enamel powder is made into a paste and applied to an object's surface, with the object then fired in a kiln. The use of cloisonné proliferated in Japan from the 17th century onwards, mainly in building fittings and small receptacles like this dropper.

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