Presentation vase decorated with birds and flowers, one of a pair, 1890s


Versions of cloisonné enamel (metal objects decorated through the use of thin gold or silver strips) have been known in the West for about two millennia but did not become popular in Japan until the 1860s. By the 1880s, Japanese enamels were known in the world for their astounding quality and at the beginning of the 1900s they would outshine everything that was before achieved in this medium. This pair of presentation vases rank amongst the tallest that were ever made. The railroad magnate James J. Hill (1838–1916) purchased them in Chicago in 1906 for his New York apartment and since his death they were displayed at the James J. Hill Reference Library in St. Paul.

Presentation vase decorated with birds and flowers, one of a pair
Accession Number
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