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Incense burner with dragon

Incense burner with dragon

Edo Period (1615 – 1868) or early Meiji
H : 76 cm L : 76 cm

Kimura Toun is known as the disciple and successor chosen by the foundry worker Murata Seimin in 1829. Toun took the name of Murata Seimin II, thus pledging allegiance to Seimin. Both artisans produced work within an artistic revival of Japanese bronze during the Bunka-Bunsei Period (1804 – 1830). This revival is linked to private requests for objects for domestic usage: perfume burners, vases for floral arrangements, objects for erudite persons, decorative objects or okimono (literally “objects for display”). The creation of a repertoire and new shapes is linked to the use of the waste wax process, until then used especially to cast cult statutes. These artists also worked for the temples, creating liturgical objects or objects to decorate altars, before the Meiji Era, when Buddhist temples were dispossessed of part of their prerogatives.

We know little about Toun’s life. Several bronzes of a very variable quality bear his stamp and appear in western collections, especially Cernuschi’s collection, ranging from a perfume burner surrounded by a dragon to vessels of a more standard quality. As is the case of Seimin, it is likely that a certain number of the latter are from his workshop or from the workshop of his descendants, including a vessel in the Victoria and Albert Museum collections bearing the date 1842, which was purchased by Siegfried Bing in 1876.

Seimin apprenticed with the foundry worker who created Buddhist images, working and living for most of his life in Edo (Tōkyō). He belonged to the movement interested in Chinese culture (bunjin), thus the bronzes from this school bear a strong Chinese influence. Nagasaki was then the bridge between Japan and the rest of the world and the Nanga school, as well as the new schools of floral arrangement, and bronzes are also often associated with this city.

Collection : Japanese decorative arts
Marques Inscriptions Poinçons : Stamp « Toun chû »
Mode d'acquisition : Bequest of Henri Cernuschi, 1896.
  • Dragon enserrant un brûle-parfum sphérique à décor de phénix

Dragon enserrant un brûle-parfum sphérique à décor de phénix
© Musée Cernuschi