Satsuma Vase with Monkeys and Cockerels

This diminutive (just three and a half inches high) Satsuma vase has a beautiful shape (an oblate spheroid, if you want to get technical) raised on three, stubby pointed feet.

The decoration is a wonderful example of Japanese sensitivity to the natural world. Instead of a continuous scene, there are three panels set into an overall floral ground. The palette of colours is predominately pastel, picked out with gilding. The first of these panels shows a solitary cockerel, crouched in display mode in a tree; the second contains just chrysanthemums and butterflies but the third is the most striking, with a pair of monkeys swooping down on lianas to pluck crabs from a stream.

The cover follows the spherical line of the vase and has a very unusual knop in the shape of a chrysanthemum bud flanked by two leaves.

 


 
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