One of the featured pieces in the porcelain and pottery collections housed at the Grady County Museum is a Japanese vase or urn. Although the vase’s exact history is not known, it has been assumed that the vase once stood in the Owsley Jewelry store at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The vintage piece is frequently called an urn due to its size. The urn measures eighteen and three fourths inches tall and measures eight inches at its widest point. Handles are located on each side below the top lip. Its shape is called the baluster form or “vase shape”. The vase or urn probably dates from the Meiji period that ended about 1913. The only mark on the bottom of the piece is in Japanese calligraphy.
The urn is highly decorated in traditional hand-painted “Nippon” or Japanese scenes. Painted in enamels and gilt the urn features two geisha in a garden with cherry trees in blossom. The base color is dark green. Large white blossoms done in cloisonné with gilt leaves cover the front of the top portion of the urn. The two girls in traditional kimonos and obis with elaborate headdresses are standing amid multiple cherry trees done in pink with white cloisonné blossoms. The handles and top edge are also finished in gilt. The back of the urn has a mountain scene completed in shades of green with a temple roof in gilt.
The Owsley Jewelry Store, located in the three hundred block of Chickasha Avenue, belonged to J.W. Owsley who was in the jewelry business for at least forty-three years. Mr. Owsley married Julia Sigmon. Julia was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David H. Sigmon who owned a furniture store also located in the three hundred block of Chickasha Avenue. Mr. Sigmon also owned a large furniture manufacturing business on north Fourth Street.
The Grady County Museum is located in The Dixie Building at 415 W. Chickasha Avenue, Chickasha, OK. It is open M-F from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. For additional information, research requests or to schedule a group tour contact 405-224-6480 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For a review of the Museum’s exhibits and a Grady County cemetery map, visit www.gradycountyhistorical.org.