Bronze vase inlaid with Orizuru
Japan, Showa period, 1920s
A bronze vase of bottle form, the rounded sides rising to a hexagonal neck. The lower part of the vase is decorated with a design of orizuru (folded paper cranes), inlaid in gold. The vase retains its original wood box, tomobako, which is inscribed: ‘Washiyama Sochu ro fusai no tame, shuku kinkonshiki ni kore o okuru’ (This is a golden wedding gift for Mr and Mrs Washiyama Sochu); ‘Kikko-guchi, orizuru zogan, hanaike, Soshitsu with kao’ (With the folded paper crane design in metal inlay, the mouth of the neck is shaped in an auspicious hexagon).
According to the inscription on the tomobako, this inlaid vase was a gift to Washiyama Sochu, a tea master who belonged to the tradition of the Urasenke school of tea, on the occasion of his 50th wedding anniversary. He studied tea under Ennosai Soshitsu (1872-1924, also known as Tecchu, the 13th head of the Urasenke School of Tea). Sohitsu inscribed the tomobako and gifted this vase to Washiyama Sochu.