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Help with the id of this Japanese technique, please.


Maryanna A

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Looks like a resist has been applied to the image areas, and then the whole thing dunked in acid to create the negative spaces. Once out of the acid bath and plated, a lacquer of sorts was applied and polished down to reveal the metal high points. Some punch tooling was used afterwards in the dragon scales, Fujiyama, etc. Could even be that the acid-resist was applied via a decal, or stenciling method. Mass-produced.

 

Not sure if there's a particular technique name/school to this. Not too sophisticated.

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I agree with Doug. The cigarette case has been etch on a brass ground to create the recessed areas filled with black paint. This technique was used to imitate the zogan (damascene) work of some of the better workshops. The damascene work was most commonly done on an iron base and can be picked up with a magnet. I suspect your brass case will not have any iron and will not be affected by the magnet. I have no information as to when your case was made. Hope this helps.

Fred

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Thank you for your replies.

 

There are dispersed inlays of silver on the front and rear external covers. My images are shocking. The black paint is. I believe, a fine layer of high gloss ceramic - conclusion drawn from uneven build up, evident under a loupe. Internally, gilt.

Circa: approx. 1920s

I am looking for a close definiton of this type of faux Cloisonné technique. I only began my research today. There is so much to read on Japanese metalwork techniques.

One other observation is that the 'brass' case retains a high sheen, for its age - too shiny. Could there be elements of another metal mixed with the 'brass'?

Maryanna

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Sorry, I wrote "The black paint is. I believe, a fine layer of high gloss ceramic".

This should read

"The black paint is, I believe, a fine layer of high gloss enamel."

 

I, also, forgot to add that Fred, I thought it was meant to imitate Cloisonné due to the enamel. Faux damascene did not enter my mind.

 

Regards,

Maryanna

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Maryanna,

 

The brass was no doubt gilded to imitate the gold overlay in the traditional zogan work.

 

The enamel paint is probably correct. I have seen examples of the actual damascene work on cigarette cases and they are exquisite. They sometimes will plate portions of the brass in silver and thereby enhancing the illusion of damascene work.

 

Fred

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Hi Maryanna,

Please keep in mind the terms you are choosing to use to describe these techniques. Terms describing Japanese works of art often have secondary meanings in today's industries and crafts. In particular, enamel in this context should be used to describe a hard , vitreous substance created by melting powdered glass in a kiln, to create the surface in cloisonne, for instance. A modern useage applies it to a paint which dries to a hard, glossy appearance. Also, lacquer - thought now used for any number of durable, glossy finishes, in a Japanese sense refers to 'urushi'- the sap of a plant which hardens (I'm using very brief definitions :) )

 

With regards to this piece, I may stand corrected, but I doubt it was created to give the impression of cloissonne (Jp- shippo). It's my understanding that shippo has never be considered a high craft in Japan. Though it has been and is made at the studio-craft level (and can be gorgeous), it has also been mass produced in spite of the fairly laborious steps required. It seems strange to me that a mass produced craft would be imitated still further. Also, shippo, generally does not have so much 'busy-ness' and density of line in its imagery. If you look at this piece, it's basically a complex line drawing similar to a Western printed etching or engraving.

The imperfections of line in your up-close images especially the 8th one (notice how the motives inside the boxes look blurred and sloppy, and the right angles are not crisp, but rounded) is what leads me to believe that the acid-resist may have been generated by a photographic process. This is in keeping with an early 20th century date as well. At any rate, the design wasn't directly hand generated.

 

Finally, a dead giveaway for this being Export is the subject matter- It's got it all :) dragons, waves, clouds, pagodas, pines, cherry blossoms, stone lanterns, Mt. Fuji, peonies.

 

Regards,

Doug

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