Satsuma Tea Caddy, late 19th century


Title: Satsuma Tea Caddy with Figures.
Date: Late 19th Century
Dimensions: 6.2 x 5.8 cm

Original Japanese antique.

A satsuma tea caddy and cover decorated with a lakeside view, maple leaves and a musical performance.

Counterbalancing different subjects and themes, all the miniature scenes depicted on this satsuma tea caddy are tied together by an idealised sense of an ancient, bygone world. On the cover, a performance by a shamisen player is accompanied by joyful dancers; some cover their faces with their fans as young boys look on in entertainment. In contrast, a scene on the body of the tea caddy shows three men fishing, sheltered by a pine and maple tree whose reddened leaves mark the autumn season. Boats languidly drift in front of the mountain vista before them, with the use of white enamel signalling the distant presence of some of the faraway peaks.

The opposite side of the container is decorated with a domestic scene: ladies in fashionable kimonos unveil a scroll, sparking the interest of the children looking on from the veranda. The thickly gilt vessels in the room stand out in relief, further adding to the tea caddy's ornateness. Binding all these idyllic vignettes together are the minute points of gold leaf, dusting over them in a dreamy gold haze.

More Information
Size 6.2 x 5.8 cm
Condition ReportTraces of age and use. At the brocade pattern a small pinhole from a glazed bubble. No signature.
Product DateLate 19th century