onbekend, Japan, 19th century
142 cm x 81 cm x 43 cm
The Mesdag Collection, The Hague
This vase was displayed next to the altar in a Japanese temple for only one day a year. This took place on the anniversary of Buddha’s death. With the transition to the Meiji period, in 1868, Shinto replaced Buddhism as the state religion in Japan. Many temples fell on hard times and this altar vase was probably sold to buyers in the West at that time.
Mesdag owned a fairly large collection of Japanese objects. As remarkable as this may seem, it was actually not uncommon in the late 19th century. Anyone with good taste then had Japanese applied art in their homes, or Japanese woodcuts hanging on their walls.