Showing posts with label Meiji. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meiji. Show all posts

04 March 2013

{ FOUND } Meiji Era Handmade Treasures

March 3 is the traditional Day of the Doll Festival in Japan, where treasured dolls of historical significance are put on display and honored.

This pair of Meiji era Emperor and Empress dolls dating from about 1868 were made in the far provinces of Japan.. probably Shimune prefecture where dolls were made from Washi paper and wood.. unlike the city of Kyoto where dolls were made from fine silks and bisque... all completely hand made..utterly charming, their faces are placid and happy always...

The lovely pair stand tall at about 17" each... and still have their original packing boxes .. they are very fragile and I have adored them since I bought them for my antiques shop in 1998 (I was always a little relieved when interested parties ended up not buying them!) 

The last time I was antiquing in Paris I spied a very similar pair at an upscale antiques shop near the Louvre and had to look twice. I rarely see these and I find them captivating. I love their slightly rustic, ephemeral quality... very wabi sabi... imperfectly perfect.

Yesterday my talented young neighbor Katie Felong and I photographed the dolls .. thought you might enjoy seeing them now.


What do you think of these gorgeous dolls? 
Would you display them in your decor?
I have used them for events, have integrated 
them into my home, and now they are
carefully packed away.


Consider joining us in Provence... 
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28 February 2010

Event Inspiration: Van Gogh & The Empress of Japan

I adore designing weddings, dinners, parties, fundraisers, celebrations of all kinds. They are exciting; they are ephemeral, they are meant to evoke a strong emotional response. They start quickly and end quickly, and usually without a plumber or electrician anywhere in sight! Done, next!

at a regal 18" tall, this Empress doll is made from fine Japanese papers
with gold trim and carved lacquered wood head and hands;
her headdress is shaped metal wire hung with glass beads; ca. 1885

For an event yesterday working with the fabulous Lisa Tomasi of Pear & Pepper Fine Catering and Events at a hip, cavernous photography studio out on Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, I decided to feature one of my favorite vintage finds: the Empress of Japan, Meiji Era (about 1885). She is lovely, made in the countryside in Japan (when Emperor and Empress dolls were all the rage at the end of the Shogun era), of humbler materials than the exquisite dolls made in the cities from fine silks and ivory. (If she had been a city Empress I was told by an appraiser, she would be worth $15,000! she's not)

I tried to evoke a sense of warmth and glamour
in this corner of the photographer's studio to
draw people together

we chose a showstopper large succulent in pretty aqua planter
for texture and "greenth" factor

hot soup shooters and chicken salad endive were
perfect for the chilly day..note the vintage
Blenko bowls we used

the Empress drew quite a crowd to the table and lots
of admiring questions; Japanese papers were used
along with lanterns, succulents and fresh flowers; Asian
prints were fixed to the stainless steel wall

we used gorgeous Japanese paper to wrap around these
boxes and used ranunculus, tulips & greenery

She found herself, not standing out, nor next to her equally impressive husband the Emperor (he stayed behind in my attic), but blending into the scene, comfortably presiding over a table where hot soup shooters were being served to guests as an unusual and delicious appetizer. She looks quite content, doesn't she?

Almond Blossoms, Vincent Van Gogh 1990
painted when he was at the asylum outside Arles, France

Which started me thinking about Vincent Van Gogh's Japoniasme. As a painter in France in the 1880's (overlapping the Meiji Era in Japan), he loved the Japanese woodcuts with their odd perspectives, flatness and simple lines. His paintings of that time reflect his love of Japanese simplicity and purity of design and intention.

"I envy the Japanese artists for the incredible neat clarity which all their works have. It is never boring and you never get the impression that they work in a hurry. It is as simple as breathing; they draw a figure with a couple of strokes with such an unfailing easiness as if it were as easy as buttoning one's waist-coat." Van Gogh

Bridge in the Rain, Vincent Van Gogh, 1887
Van Gogh copied Japanese woodblock prints
(ukiyo-e which means"pictures of a floating world")
which he found in the gallery next door to where he
lived in Paris

Portrait of Pere Tanguy, 1888, by Vincent Van Gogh in Paris
depicts the seller of his art supplies in front
of Van Gogh's collection of Japanese prints

Which started me thinking about what I would do if I owned a Van Gogh painting: where would I put it? what furnishings would enhance it best. I decided a smaller version of this reclaimed wood sideboard from Restoration Hardware would be in perfect juxtapositon to the delicate and colorful Van Gogh. It's simple and straightforward lines remind me of the very modest life he lived in France, surrounded by rough and handhewn pieces just like this one.

rough-hewn, solid planks sideboard from reclaimed wood

although, I do like this one too, an antique Mongolian
cabinet, 1890, with delicate painting would also
be a lovely complement to a Van Gogh painting
from Horchow

Which started me thinking about Van Gogh himself. If he had lived long enough to see how fantastically popular and valuable his paintings were to become, he might have used one of these vintage 1900 French aluminum suitcases to take his brother and benefactor Theo to St. Petersburg, Russia to see the beautiful city and its art. Can't you just see the two of them, happily boarding the train for the long trip, jauntily dressed with aluminum suitcases in hand?

fabulous French designed and made aluminum suitcases from
1900 with fantasic details, quality and undeniable cache
you can see them here

Gare du Nord, Paris, ca. 1900


in 2010, it's:

Kit Golson Design

for elegant, sustainable and pragmatic

Chic Provence Interior Design

09 June 2009

The Evocative Images of Teo Jasmin

Sometimes you just want to evoke another time and place. When our own time and place are getting just a little...tiresome...we long for something a little exotic that can transport us to another era in a faraway land.

If you love old, hand-colored  photography as much as I do, and have a fascination for the Meiji Era in Japan, these graphics from Teo Jasmin in Paris will not disappoint. If you find DaVinci's work as inspiring today as it was in the 15th C., invite him into your home. If you yearn to connect with the tribal people whose lives could not be more dissimilar to yours, bring these images, larger than life, into your rooms.

Asian Bride and Groom 

The Mona Lisa and One of Her Contemporaries


Meiji Era Tea Ceremony

Nothing conveys immediacy like a photograph. And rarely will you find such appealing designs as these at great, affordable prices. 

So what if you can't make that trip to the Olduvai Gorge this summer?   Now you don't have to. 


Kit Golson Design 

for elegant, sustainable and pragmatic

 Chic Provence Interior Design


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