The metalworker Takasaki Koichi exhibited at the great Exposition Universelle held in Paris in 1900. The first recorded use of transparent enamel over a decorated metal body, as here, dates from 1893, when two vases in the technique were made by the famous craftsman and entrepreneur Namikawa Sosuke (see lot 583) for the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary of Emperor Meiji. The anonymous enameller of this piece was undoubtedly influenced by Sosuke and shared his fondness for emulating the effects of ink painting and, especially, the depiction of half-submerged fish, a favorite theme of Japanese artists since the middle of the 18th century. A very similar example, also by Takasaki Koichi but with fewer fish in the enamel decoration, is in the Khalili Collection, which includes two further pieces made by Koichi in collaboration with anonymous enamel artists. For the Khalili pieces, see Joe Earle, Splendors of Imperial Japan: Arts of the Meiji Period from the Khalili Collection (London: Kibo Foundation, 2002), pls. 46-48.