The collection at Nicholas Wells Antiques also highlights a variety of museum-quality Japanese decorative arts, mostly from the late Edo period and Meiji Period (1868-1912). These include Imari, Artita, and Satsuma ceramics, bronze, exceptional lacquerware and silver vessels, and wooden carvings.

Japanese art became a global phenomenon during the Meiji Restoration. This period marked the end of the feudal Tokugawa Shogunate where Japan was closed off to the world for 200 years, to one that embraced Western ideology and modernity.

Art was one of the methods to showcase a new modern Japan. With respect to decorative arts, new concepts were implemented to mirror the government’s ideals. For example, rather than requiring objects to be strictly functional, the Meiji school of thought saw that art can be purposed solely for display.

Despite Japanese craftsmen still using traditional materials such as silver, ivory, bamboo, wood, lacquer, and bronze, new aesthetics were being developed. Decorative objects can now showcase the creativity of the individual artist (rather than a workshop or studio), while new insights into Western tastes saw greater attention to fine details, realism, and dynamism.


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