Archive for the ‘Asian art’ Category













Japanese pottery teapot, plate and tea bowl with lid. The marks indicate that the pottery was produced and decorated by Gyozan, Kyoto pottery, in first half of the 20th century.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Gyouzan began to export the reproductions of Ninsei and Kenzan and original Kyo-Satsuma ware.

Gyozan Mark

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Factory girls decorating cheap pottery for the foreign markets, Kyoto, Japan, 1904.

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Attractive cloisonné (*) enamel lady’s table mirror depicting three yellow five-clawed dragons on black ground, in pursuit of flaming pearls. This item was made in China in the late 19th or early 20th Century, probably during the reign of the Guangxu emperor 光緒帝 (reigned 1875-1908).

(*) Cloisonné 景泰蓝

Although popularly associated with Chinese art, the word “cloison” is actually French and means “compartment.” The technique was common in many parts of the world. Ancient Egyptians were the first to employ the cloisonné method.

Cloisonné enamel techniques were brought to China from Persia during the Yuan Dynasty. The techniques were developed further in the Ming Dynasty and became widespread during the reign of seventh Ming Emperor Jingtai 景泰 (reigned 1449-1457). This is the origin of the Chinese name for cloisonné Jingtailan 景泰蓝, with lan 蓝 (blue) being the most common background color. To produce a cloisonné utensil, the artist first produces a copper roughcast, attaches some copper wires forming decorative patterns, adds enamel between the spaces in the wires, and then fires the item in a kiln. Chinese cloisonné is sometimes confused with Canton enamel, a similar type of enamel work that is painted on freehand and does not utilize partitions to hold the colors separate.

Chinese black cloisonné



2012 The Year of the Dragon

As per the Chinese Zodiac, the coming year of 2012 is Year of Dragon that would commence on 23rd January 2012 and go on till 9th February, 2013. The Dragon is the fifth sign and signifies luck, especially for the Dragon people. Some people say 2012 is a Black Dragon or Water Dragon year.

The Year 2012 is the 4709th Chinese year. The Chinese believe that the first king of China was the Yellow King (he was not the first emperor of China). The Yellow King became king in 2697 B.C.

People born in the Year of the Dragon share certain characteristics: energetic, enterprising, self-assured, brave, passionate, innovative, optimistic, intelligent and ambitious.


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My wagasa 1

My wagasa  a

My wagasa inter 2

This old Japanese umbrella is made from a heavy rice paper hand painted with peacocks and flowers. It has a bamboo handle and a metal cap on top. For being over 100 years old this “wagasa”  is in good condition.

My wagasa center

My wagasa inter 1

My wagasa  det 1

My wagasa det 4

Wagasa – Traditional Japanese Umbrellas

Since its introduction to Japan over 1000 years ago, the Japanese have gone beyond seeing the umbrella as merely a tool. Indeed, they are objects of beauty in their own right.

Traditional Japanese umbrellas or Wagasa (和傘), are made of bamboo (竹), wood, and washi (和纸: Japanese traditional paper), fortified and made waterproof with persimmon, linseed oil and China wood oil.

There are many types of Japanese umbrella:

Bangasa (番伞): traditional rain umbrella made of bamboo and oiled paper.

Janome (蛇の目: umbrella in snake eye pattern): is blue in the center and at the edges, and white in between, and looks like the eye of a snake when viewed from above. This umbrella does have variations, such as painted black rings on the surface and the application of other materials.

Maigasa (舞伞) or Buyôgasa (舞踊伞): is a wonderful parasol used traditionally for classical Japanese dance, is more lightweight in nature, allowing for delicate and graceful moves. Maigasa is status symbol of “mai”(舞) dancer but not be used in the rain.

Nodategasa (野点傘): is a type of umbrella used for shade in Japanese processions and open air tea ceremonies (茶の湯).

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japanese umbrellas 3paper parasol5paper parasol16

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ieaRnCAxMTdYwgjapanese umbrellas 7umbrella store

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While a typical western umbrella has eight ribs holding up the covering, a traditional Japanese umbrella has 30-40 ribs. This is due to the particular structure of these umbrellas, wherein thin bamboo ribs positioned closely together support and push the washi paper outwards to open.



The ribs of a Japanese umbrella are made of a single bamboo cane, which is split lengthways into equal-sized pieces. When attaching these ribs to the covering, they are rearranged back into the order in which they were split, so that when the umbrella is closed, it closes neatly with the bamboo pieces coming together to form the shape of the original cane. Its composition is so delicate that if there is even the slightest damage to the bamboo or a miscalculation with the rearrangement occurs, the umbrella will not open.The geometrically spaced ribs beautifully spread out from the center to create an elegant shape.


When closed, bamboo is strong and durable more than expected, due to being transformed into a form of its bamboo cylinder.

When opened, however, it is not strong enough due to thin bamboo ribs connected with the threads with washi paper glued to the frames, which requires good care for a longer use. If kept in good shape, a 20 year old umbrella may be usable to your surprise. Wagasa may look simple, but it requires a complex technique since paper must be folded nicely after it is pasted on the frame.


The umbrella was invented in ancient China as a canopy to be held over a nobleman. It was introduced to Japan through Kudara (the Korean peninsula) as part of Buddhist ceremonies. Originating in the Kamakura era (镰仓时代: 1192-1333), it flourished in the Edo era (江戸时代: 1603-1867).

A girl in a kimono and  Japanese  parasol.A woman holding an umbrellaA woman is holding a parasolgirl is holding a plain parasol

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Japanese umbrella in her left hand,The woman holding a janome umbrella wears a Michiyuki coatpaper umbrella 2wagasa 2

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The umbrella in Japan was originally called “kinugasa”, but because it came from China (kara), it was also called “karakasa”. At the time, they were unlike umbrellas used today, and were more like canopies that could not be opened and closed. Their purpose was also different. These umbrellas were reserved for privileged members of society, and as well having the conventional function of a parasol, the umbrella was a status symbol that was believed to ward off evil spirits.

The umbrella has played an important role in Japanese culture, and its “Umbrella Culture” is without parallel in the rest of the world. Not only is it indispensable in everyday life for protection against rain and sun, the wagasa is also used in the world of traditional arts, such as in Noh and Kabuki theatre.

hagiwara kaeshiya basya

hagiwara kaeshiya kasa

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Currently, the kano umbrella, made in Kano, Gifu Prefecture, is proud to be to the only place in Japan to be a major producer of traditional Japanese umbrellas.

girls in a kimono

woman with parasol

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Umbrellas & Art


Britain's Pot Metal Mikado Figure ToyEdna HIBEL ASIAN GIRL FIGURE WITH PARASOLEsther Hunt 1875-1951 dos

Gustave Vichy Automaton of a Japanese Mask Seller

Esther Hunt 1875-1951KITAGAWA UTAMARO 1753-1806  C.1797T. Nakayama watercolorUtamaro Kitagawa Japanese 1753-1806 Woman with Umbrella

FRANK SNAPP - Amer. 1872-1936 gouache on paper Lady with Parasol

Mori  Yoshitoshi 1898-1993 stencil woman with umbrellapaper parasolThe Garden Parasol, 1910 Oil on canvas

sakai izumi

Japan 2

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Is a large chinese black lacquer box with a scene of figure in garden in multi-colored jade, soap-stone, ivory, mother of pearl, red-aventurine and agate. Early to mid 19th century.

Before restoration

During the latter part of the nineteenth and earlier part of this century ignorance contributed to the neglect of many of these fine boxes. Many must have perished or damaged beyond recognition.

Very few have survived in very good condition. A fragment of good lacquer represents hours of precious work.

Restoration must not be attempted as lacquer is very toxic and by the nature of the work not really possible or cost effective. Consolidation is the best way of avoiding further erosion.

Another examples


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