A large cloisonne plaquedepiciting man on horseback shooting a winged fowl with a fish in its talons. It has a repeating pattern along border of birds and dragons and a blue and gold design with floral designs on the underneath side of plaque.
It is commonly said that the first cloisonne enamel in Japan was produced by a metal engraver in Kyoto, Donin Hirata (1591-1646). He mastered the techniques introduced by Korean craftsmen in the early seventeenth century, and the Hirata family became a provider of cloisonne other items until 1832, when Tsunekichi Kaji (1803-1883) in Owari, near Nagoya in Aichi prefecture, closely examined a tray brought by the Dutch and succeeded in reproducing a cloisonne enamel dish all by himself. He and his apprentices established a strong cloisonne enamel industry in Owari, and their village was later renamed Shippo-mura (Cloisonne Village). In 1871, the Shippo Kaisha was set up in Nagoya, and they actively exported cloisonne wares to the West.
Besides Nagoya, there were three other major cloisonne enamel production centers during the Meiji era: Kyoto, Tokyo, and Kanagawa. Amongst the makers, Yasuyuki Namikawa in Kyoto and Sosuke Namikawa in Tokyo were the two leaders in this industry. The production of Japanese cloisonne enamel increased rapidly from less than 1,000 in 1873 to approximately 28,000 in 1880. For five years after this, the industry experienced a severe setback caused by the deterioration in the quality of its products, just as in the case of the lacquer industry. Then production recovered to 4,800 in 1895. The cloisonnenamel industry had, however, slowed down significantly in the 1910s both in the home and export markets. This was mainly due to the loss of the above-mentioned two prominent leaders in the industry.