Andon 76

March 2004

Andon 76

EDITORIAL: We are happy to offer you another thick issue of Andon containing articles on various stubjects. Hideki Yoshikawa has made a thorough study of lacquer objects manufactured by Somada craftsmen. He here discusses several examples of their work that are decorated with magnificent shell-inlaid. He also provides a survey of the eight generations of Somada lacquer masters who were employed by the Maeda clan in Toyama over a period of nearly 200 years (1678 - 1868). In the next issue of Andon he will examine the rarely encountered Somada inrō. Another article of interest to collectors has heen provided by Henri Kerlen. He considers the reasons for the use of Chinese reign marks on Japanese Imari porcelain. His article will certainly stimulate collectors of Imari ware to study the marks on their pieces more closely. Seals and signatures can be useful in identifying the makers of an artifact but in some cases they can cause a lot of confusion. An interesting example of a problematic signature is presented by Dietrich Neumann and Robert Schaap. They researched bird and flower prints signed Seiko, and have come up with the suggestion that Seiko and Watanabe Seitei may be one and the same person. Copying the ideas of other artists is not so unusual, but artists working together is a rare phenomenon in the West. Such was not the case in Japan, where many examples of collective paintings, gassaku, can be found. Jon de Jong discusses the origin of gassaku and illustrates several party scrolls (sekiga) , composed of several small paintings by various artists. These gassaku are a goldmine for those interested in the social relations and cultural interactions between local groups of artists. ln this issue we also remember Richard Lane, an important and sometimes controversial ukiyo-e scholar, who died last year. We are proud that he chose to publish a number of his erudite articles in our bulletin.

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