Japanese red and gold lacquer vase with Shibayama round panels, the front inlaid with cranes and flowers and the back with birds and a hanging flower vase (hanaire) the cover with a mother-of-pearl finial, Meiji period 1868-1912.
Shibayama 芝山象嵌細工 was the mosaic-like inlay technique used to decorate Japanese objects such as inro, vases, dishes and table screen.
This highly-skilled work required the meticulous carving of very small fragments, which were inlaid into a wood or gold lacquer base. Just as in a jigsaw puzzle these pieces ultimately formed a complete scene.
In Japan the crane is an auspicious symbol of long life because of its fabled life span of a thousand years, luck and fidelity as cranes pair for life.
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