This is a one of a kind porcelain Masterpiece by the Master Artisan who in 1893 won the Grand Prize for Crafts, which that year was a Bronze Medal, the second-place prize that year was an ‘Honorary Gold Medal’ and was won by Makuzu Kozan for his elaborately designed pair of large vases. Shortly thereafter he would become the Official Potter to the Japanese Imperial Family. Of special interest is the fact that both Kozan and Seishi sacrificed 8 years of their lives in the creation of these single Masterpiece for the Chicago World’s Exposition.
Of even greater significance and in a feat never before seen in the history of the World’s Fair Exposition an exhibit specifically LOT # 561 titled an ‘ORNAMENT’ by Naruse Seishi -Gifu won the Grand Prize that year. In point of fact the ornament was the ROOIF of a ceramic replica of the Tokugawa Shrine Gate at Nikko Japan and measured .75 meters tall and .45 meters wide. On the ocean transit, the ship was almost sunk in a typhoon, however, the bottom two-thirds of the replica was destroyed, along with other Masterpieces destined for Chicago, including a set of 4 season massive cloisonne vases by Kumeno Tietaro.
When the judges witnessed the intricacy of the design of the ROOF they awarded it the Grand Prize Bronze Medal. The great Kinkozan Sobei VII who had medaled in every other World’s Fair was shut out. The great Yabu Meizan had a special technique copied here from a Wikipedia article “Meizan’s works are characterized by minute decoration applied using copper plate designs. These engraved copper plates were used to print the designs on paper, which would then be cut to provide stencils for painting on vases or plates” Meizan chose to nevcer exhibit at a World’s Exposition.
Photos and information on the famed ” Roof” can be found in a catalog of an exhibit of Naruse Seishi’s work held in Japan in 2010 in the Harvard Fine Arts library as well as in a large museum in GIFU Japan. POR