Japan, Kamakura period / Jar with Scenes of Frolicking Monkeys / 1302Japan, Kamakura period
Jar with Scenes of Frolicking Monkeys

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Dates/Places: Japan
Creator Active Place: Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Japan, Kamakura period
Title: Jar with Scenes of Frolicking Monkeys
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1302
Creation End Date: 1302
Creation Date: 1302
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Lacquer
Materials and Techniques: wood, covered with hemp cloth and colored lacquer
Dimensions: Diameter: 47.2cm, Overall: 49.4cm
Inscriptions: Dated 1302
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1984.8
Credit Line: Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund
Rights: http://www.clemusart.com/museum/disclaim2.html
Context: Lacquer has been in use in Japan since at least 4000 BC when the Jomon people used it to harden and decorate weapons (arrows) and utilitarian objects (wooden serving bowls). It was extracted from the sap of the Rhus vernicifera tree, refined through evaporation and skimming, and then embellished with red and black pigments. Since this earliest period of Japanese history, the practice of producing and using lacquer objects has remained constant although developments in its manufacture and refinement, usage, and patronage have naturally fluctuated. No doubt the most profound change in the history of Japanese lacquerware occurred in the seventh and eighth centuries, when the new religion, Buddhism, had finally secured official court support for its existence. As its influence and power spread from the capital in Nara to the outlying provinces, lacquer objects and furnishings became increasingly in demand for use in temple communities. Lacquer was used to decorate room interiors, architectural fittings, furniture, musical instruments, shrines and statuary, clothes and object chests, and serving utensils. Perhaps the most desirable wares were the monochrome black, brown, or red objects used every day in Buddhist temples in the Kamakura period. Carved wood bases were coated with many successive layers of colorless lacquer, and the final applications were tinted black, and then red. Through usage, wear produced a natural surface of red and black random patterns. This large jar was formed from two pieces of wood that were turned on a lathe and then joined. The neck and base were then added and the entire vessel covered with hemp cloth to produce a smooth surface except where three bands of parallel convex lines were carved. Black and then selected areas of red lacquer were added last. Foremost among these are three linked scenes at the bottom of the jar depicting a narrative of a monkey family crossing a stream. No other example of pictorial lacquer art of a similar age and genre subject has survived in Japan. M.R.C.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1984.8
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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