[Cliburn, Van. (1934 - 2013)]

Japanese Pitchers of Solid Silver from Van Cliburn's Collection

Two small pitchers of solid silver with rafia covered handles and trim around the neck base, each with gross weight of 5.5 oz. Approximately 10 cm tall, 8.5 cm in diameter plus handle. Jungin mark for solid silver on bottom which was used throughout the Meiji period until a 1928 ordinance required that objects be marked numerically according to the alloy fineness. The other stamp is of the maker Miyamoto Shoko, a famous silversmith located in the Ginza district of Tokyo which has made fine silver works since 1880, including many of the silver items used by the imperial family of Japan. 

Silver in Japan has always been scarce and perhaps because of its rareness, silver has historically been used sparingly in Japan. Unlike Chinese silver pieces of the last several hundred years, Japanese decorative objects made of silver have tended to cater less to Western tastes. And, ironically, Japanese alloys generally have higher silver contents than those produced in China. While the Ginza district of Tokyo is now famous for upscale shops and nightclubs, people tend to forget that the word "Ginza" actually came from the silver coin mint located there during the Edo period. The Ginza district was famous for producing high end silver items and Miyamoto Shoko is in the heart of the Ginza district.

The American pianist Van Cliburn built an extraordinary and diverse collection of English furniture, Russian artwork, jewelry and silver from his travels around the world. The collection was auctioned at Christie's following his death and the present teapot was originally acquired at that sale. Detailed provenance will be provided with the pitchers. (17875)

Art & Design