I was incredibly blessed last week. I didn't see this amazing large Japanese Sumida vase at Preview; so when it came to the block, I was truly bidding blind. The auctioneer announced the item, I took the plunge and bought it.....remember, we are not talking about a $20.00 bid.
When I picked it up on Monday, I was stunned--it's perfect, no cracks, no chips, signed and most of all: it's a dragon vase with a poem on the reverse.
Sumida ware, also known as poo ware or Sumida Gawa is a heavily potted ceramic genre that was created in the Sumida Gawa (river) region, the pottery is easily identified by its heavy clay body, high relief decoration, rough flambe glaze with a smoother flowing glaze dripping down from the rim, raised signature or a signature tile. The high relief decorations most commonly feature monkeys and humans, but dragons and other elements can also be featured. I believe that the poem in high relief characters is unusual and I haven't found any other examples (yet).
I'm going to stick to photos of my vase, but you can Google "Sumida" for other examples.
My vase stands an impressive 17.5 inches and is approximately 9-10 inches in diameter. The relief is of a pair of dragons with a "flaming pearl". In Japanese culture the dragon is associated with water and symbolizes wealth and power and is the guardian of the East (the phoenix is the guardian of the South). The pearl or flaming pearl symbolizes wisdom and the gods. The vase also includes symbolic decorations of clouds (the heavens), wind and waves (the water realm). I believe that this example dates to c. 1880-1890, but I can't be positive until I consult an expert.
Following are detail photos of my Sumida treasure--actually I seem to love everything that is passing my way. I guess that it is really the hunt and the unexpected gifts that I love.
This is a heavy guy--not likely to tip in an earthquake.
Jones had his hair done again and is looking super handsome. We have been having an early Spring and I want it to go back to winter.
I cannot believe that it is already Palm Sunday!! So blessings for the coming Easter week.
Mary & Jones & Cole