Bronze flower vase ‘Ryo’

by Orihara Kyuzaemon
Japan, Showa period, 1926 – 1989

A bronze vase of square format, supported on a short base and with a small, rectangular mouth. The vase is decorated in relief with a mock ribbon and engraved with straight lines.  The vase is covered in a golden patina and is signed on the base: Kyuzaemon. It retains the original wood box, tomobako, inscribed Hakudo, Ryo, Nitten riji, Orihara Kyuzaemon, with the seal ‘Kyuzaemon’ (White bronze, entitled ‘With arris/angles/edges/ ridge’, Orihara Kyuzaemon, Director of the Nitten exhibition organization, with seal Kyuzaemon).

Orihara Kyuzaemon (1931-2018) was born in Yamagata prefecture, and studied metal art under the well-known artist Hasuda Shugoro (1915-2010) Shugoro was a Japan Art Academy member and professor at the Tokyo University of Fine Art. In 1955, Orihara Kyuzaemon graduated from the Tokyo University of Education (now Tsukuba University). He became a professor at Hokkaido University of Education and taught metal art. He exhibited at the Nitten exhibitions and was appointed director. His career continued to flourish, culminating in winning a prize at the prestigious Japan Art Academy (Nihon Geijutsuin) in 1986. For 44 years, he worked tirelessly as the president of the Hokkaido branch of the Nihon Gendai Kogei Bijutsu-ten (Japan Contemporary Art Crafts Exhibition Association). He died in 2018, aged 86. In 2011, a major solo exhibition of the work of Kyuzaemon was held at the Hokkaido Municipal Hakodate Museum of Art, Hokkaido, accompanied by an exhibition catalogue.