The characters for shippo 七宝, the Japanese term for enamels, refer to the Seven Treasures mentioned in Buddhist texts. These treasures include gold, silver, coral, agate, lapis lazuli and various gemstones. Like these precious materials, enamels glow with rich colour.
The art of cloisonné enamelling became one of Japan’s most successful forms of manufacture after its renaissance around 1840. It reached a peak of artistic and technological sophistication between 1880 and 1910, a period referred to as the ‘Golden Age’.
This exhibition of over 100 objects, combining a gift of superb Japanese enamels from Edwin Davies CBE with the V&A’s historical collection, presents a rounded picture of one of Japan’s most exquisite art forms.
Exhibition organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London with generous support from Edwin Davies CBE.