Bournemouth is home to the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, a beautiful house containing the collections of Sir Merton and Lady Russell-Cotes, late Victorians who travelled the world, amassing Japanese and other artefacts. Attached to the historic house is a more modern gallery showing nearly a hundred items of Japanese metalwork, mainly 19th century, under the banner “Well Hammered: The Art of Japanese Metalwork”. Especially stunning are two works by the Komai house of Kyoto, one an iron dish with a scene from a No play, the other an iron plaque with a battle scene from the Mongol invasions. Both pieces are lavishly decorated in relief, using gold, silver, copper and different inlay techniques. Japanophiles should note that the so-called Mikado’s Room in the historic house is likewise crammed with Japanese artefacts, but since the museum is in the process of redoing the display, a return visit is a must.
Well Hammered: The Art of Japanese Metalwork
Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth
Above: Dish (detail). Komai of Kyoto. Meiji period (1868-1912). 1880-1890. Lobed iron dish, decorated with gold, silver, copper, shibuichi (copper-silver alloy) and shakudo (copper-gold alloy) inlays. Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum. Image: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, by HM Photographic, at http://www.rupertharris.com/final/int_precious_objects/examples/example3/example3.php