Japanese Meiji period Shibayama style ivory tusk vase


This beautiful tusk features a portrayal of a floral branch visited by butterflies and birds, all crafted from inlaid semi-precious materials in the Shibayama manner.


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This superb vase, crafted from an ivory tusk, is decorated in the Shibayama manner. The surface of the tusk is inlaid with mother of pearl, tortoiseshell, and other semi-precious materials in a composition that depicts a floral spray visited by butterflies and perched birds. The tusk is supported on a gadrooned wooden base.

The Shibayama technique is named after Shibayama Dosho, who worked in Japan in the 18th Century. The technique was used exclusively on items for export to the West—so-called export ware. Shibayama refers to the technique of inlaying semi-precious materials onto a ground of lacquer or ivory, in a manner to allow the inlays to stand out in low relief. Items decorated in the Shibayama style range from vases, boxes, and table-screens to swords and entire ivory tusks. Shibayama Dosho is not thought to have invented this type of work, but the name has been credited to him due to his skill in perfecting the technique.


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Birds / Ornithology, Floral, Japanese Interest, Shibayama
Ivory, Mother-of-Pearl, Tortoiseshell, Wood
Brown, Cream, Multi-coloured


27 cm / 10.6 inches
10 cm / 3.9 inches


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