Yabu Meizan, Large Satsuma Vase, Flowering Vines and Dragonfly

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Original Japanese woodblock print.
Artist: Yabu Meizan (1853–1934)
Title: Summer Flowering Creepers and Dragonfly Vase
Date: Early 20th century
Dimensions: (W) 12.5 (D) 12.5 (H) 24.3 cm
A large vase with kazura vine and dragonfly. Signed on the base in a gilt square 'Yabu Meizan'. 
This relatively large piece in Meizan’s oeuvre is representative of his later shift to simplification and freer design. Similar to his figurative style, Meizan allows his composition to stand without background or setting, the creeper lightly trailing above the mouth of the vase. The work suggests the end of summer and is filed with pathos: the kazura flowering vines show the entire life cycle from the white buds yet unfurled, the flowers in full bloom and their already darkening leaves. A dragonfly pauses on the end of the vine, the translucency of its wings realised with a light application of white enamel. Meizan’s impressive attention to detail is evident in some of the leaves folded over by a breeze; their underside retaining a bright green freshness.
More Information
Title Summer Flowering Creepers and Dragonfly Vase
Artist Name Yabu Meizan
Dimensions (W) 12.5 (D) 12.5 (H) 24.3 cm
Subject Animal & Birds, Flowers & Botanical
Product Date Early 20th century

Yabu Meizan

Yabu Meizan was considered to be one of the greatest ceramic artists of Japan during the 19th-20th century. He was born in Osaka in 1853 and studied painting techniques on ceramics in Tokyo. He returned to Osaka and established his workshop in 1880. He created a new form of intricate artwork characterised by detailed landscapes and decorative motifs. The early artworks were so detailed that one would need the aide of a magnification glass to appreciate the fine miniature paintwork. During the 20th century, he adapted his work to appeal to a wider audience through simplification of designs in keeping with the fashion of the period, maintaining the attention to detail throughout.