Small tripod vase with narrow neck decorated with polychrome and gold enamels in Satsuma ware. The lip is multi-lobed and underlined with gold. The decoration is composed of haloed characters in cartouches on a dotted background. They are the 18 Luohans or Arhats, characters from Buddhist mythology. The background is lined with decorative motifs reminiscent of paper cutouts. On the neck, we find motifs of crosses inscribed in circles. Through the mouth, one can see the off-white crackled enamel background characteristic of Satsuma productions in the Meiji period (1868-1912). This is a very refined Japanese production from the 19th century.
The 18 Luohans or Arhats are, according to Buddhist mythology, the original followers of Gautama Buddha. They have reached the four stages of enlightenment towards Nirvana. Their role is to protect the Buddhist faith and wait for the coming of Maitreya, the enlightening Buddha. They are a symbol of the Great Vehicle Buddhism which advocates helping others to reach Nirvana rather than seeking it only for oneself. They are often depicted with European features (high nose, thick eyebrows, round eyes...) according to the description made by the monk Guanxiu in 891.
Dim: W: 3,9 in - D: 3,9in - H: 5,9in.
Dim: L:10cm, P:10cm, H:15cm.
In good general condition.