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Japanese antiques

Japanese Tin Toys

Immediately after the Second World War, Japanese toy makers began to manufacture battery powered tin plate toys. American and European toy makers had used batteries to operate lights, buzzers and horns but it was the Japanese who replaced clockwork and friction mechanism with electric motors to power toy vehicles and automata. These toys were made […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese History & Dynasties

Early Period (to 897 AD) A neolithic culture (called Jomon) existed in Japan as early as 3000 B.C. From about the first century A.D., the Japanese were producing replicas of objects from many parts of Asia, including replicas of bronze mirrors from China, grey pottery (called sue) from Korea and bell-shaped bronzes (called dotaku) from […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese Ceramics

Pottery has been made in Japan since Neolithic times (from before 4,500 B.C.). Early wares employed techniques and styles imported from China, Korea an even as far away as Vietnam. A favoured technique was to cord or woven material onto pots while still soft, giving a ribbed effect. Japanese Jomon period cord pattern wares were […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese Furniture

Partly because the frequency of earthquakes precluded the use heavy construction methods, traditional Japanese buildings, and the furniture in them, are light. The Japanese sat and slept on the floor and, so, had no chairs or beds in the Western style. They used low tables for writing and most often stored their goods on open […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese Cloisonne

Cloisonné is produced by drawing a pattern on a base object, such as a vase, which is usually copper. Thin wires are fused or glued over the lines of the drawing and the spaces between the wires are filled with enamel. Cloisonné has been produced in France for about 1,000 years but Japanese cloisonné is […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese Netsuke

For about 300 years up to the early 20th century, Japanese men’s dress included a small box or pouch, called an inro, fastened to sash around his kimono by a toggle, called a netsuke. The inro was originally a box to hold a seal. It was later divided into two compartments to hold ink as […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese Kimonos

The kimono is essentially an ankle-length gown with wide sleeves. It is secured at the waist with a sash called an obi. Japanese men and women of all classes wore the same fundamental dress. As the kimono was minimally tailored, fashion was based on fabric and pattern rather than on cut. Peasant kimonos were usually […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese Painting & Prints

Civil wars were fought in Japan between rival shoguns for much of the time between 1333 and 1573. The samurai, a caste of professional warriors, became extremely influential throughout this period in all aspects of Japanese life including the arts. The samurai were attracted to the self-discipline and self-reliance emphasised by Zen Buddhism which they […]  Continue Reading »