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Bob Scholte Fine Art. Ikebana: Japanse vazen: Nakajima Yasumi II, Kanamori Shugetsu en Sakai Kozan. Foto: RmariusB.

Ikebana: the art of flower arrangement

Ikebana is the Japanese word for ´the art of arranging flowers´. These vases are from the 20th century, made in a copper/bronze alloy and patinated with traditional Japanese techniques.


Japan was cut off from the rest of the world for over 300 years until America broke its isolation in the 1850s with the gunboat diplomacy. Besides Japanism, which strongly influenced the arts in 

Europe, Japanese culture was also subject to change as you can see in these vases.


The Japanese government rescinded the samurai's traditional right to carry two swords. As a result, a large group of metal workers suddenly became unemployed. Under the influence of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, metalworkers began to look for other forms of income. They responded to the demand for decorative arts and specialized in ikebana. Members of renowned craft families, such as Nakajima Yasumi and his son, as well as Hasegawa Gasen, rose in status and became famous artists. Both artists won prizes at the Japanese national art exhibitions organized by the government, such as Neiten and Teiten.  

These vases are known for their elegant shape and deep patina. By applying various ancient techniques they were able to create multicolored patina in red, brown, yellow, green and even purple. One of these techniques is to oil the unprocessed vase and expose it to a smoking rice fire while acids and chemicals attack the copper alloy, causing discoloration during the chemical reaction.

The flower vase and accompanying tomobako (storage box) that I am offering are made by artists included in the Becker collection of Japanese Bronze Flower Vases. Every once in a while I have some new vases. So keep an eye on the website! View the current offer here.

For a more extensive article about these vases, I refer to the column in Tableau Magazine.

Photo: Fotografie RmariusB

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