Meiji cloisonné vase by Namikawa Yasuyuki, £13,000 at Toovey's.

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His was among the best of all the Kyoto metalworking shops.

Namikawa began his career as a cloisonné artist in about 1868 and worked with the Kyoto Shippo Kaisha between 1871-74, before opening his own studio. He exhibited his work, to great acclaim, at national and international expositions and in 1896 he was appointed an imperial craftsman to the Meiji emperor.


The mark to the base of the Meiji cloisonné vase by Namikawa Yasuyuki, £13,000 at Toovey's.

Working across half a century, his work assumes a number of different styles. The 6in (15cm) vase offered in Washington was finely worked with a design of scattered polychrome flowers, scrolling foliage, flower roundels and butterflies on alternating panels of colour. It is signed on a silver plaque to the base Kyoto Namikawa and was offered in an associated hardwood stand.

A very similar piece is illustrated in the 2011 book Japanese Cloisonné by Victoria and Albert Museum curator Gregory Irvine.

In the perfect condition cloisonné buyers desire, Toovey's example attracted plenty of interest at its £2000-4000 estimate and ultimately sold at £13,000.