Tea caddy

ARTIST / MAKER: Miyamoto (maker)
DATE: late 19th century (made)
PLACE: Japan (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver, champlevé enamel

This Japanese silver tea caddy is decorated in high relief with enamel inlay depicting wisteria and cherry blossom, both celebrated plants in Japanese culture. It was made by Miyamoto, who founded a silverware company in 1880 during the Meiji period (1868-1912). This piece was most likely made for the export market, which flourished during this time as Japan had emerged from almost two hundred years of seclusion and took advantage of newly established trading links with the West. This prompted a widespread enthusiasm for Japanese art and crafts, referred to as ‘Japonisme’, which had a profound effect on Western art and design.