Japanese Artistic Techniques

Shibayama is the application of semi precious inlay to a surface - typically lacquer, ivory or wood.

This inlay was most often mother of pearl, but also tortoiseshell, horn, jade, metal and ivory.
This inlay was worked in attractive designs of florals, blossom, animals - anything that took the fancy of the artist. And anything that he thought would appeal to the Western market, because shibayama was essentially a technique developed and perfected for a non-Japanese audience.

The technique was named after a family of craftsmen whose work was exhibited in Western expositions from the 1870s to 1890. The
Westerners who acquired these exquisite shibayama pieces assumed (wrongly) that they were collecting a piece of Japanese artistic
tradition. However the technique came to fashion and perfection, whether traditional Nippon or modern Japan, whether venerating a long artistic history or providing for the new taste for gaudy extravagance, shibayama artworks are highly collected and widely admired. When once they were considered perhaps showy and unbecoming, they are now appreciated for their beauty and reflection of the Japanese sensibility to create what was fashionable, but to do so with flair and style.

To disucss selling or buying Asian Works of Art at McTear's please contact specialist Magda Ketterer on magda@mctears.co.uk 

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