Vivian Wang

Stripes of Gold

Cast glass, stoneware, gemstones (moonstone, mother of pearl, crystal), gold leaf and steel base, 22"h x 16"w x 16"d (including base), Item No. 18001,

“Stripes of Gold” portrays Kameyama, the 90th Emperor of Japan, when he acceded to the throne as a 10-year-old boy, in 1259. He ruled for fifteen years, abdicating his throne in 1274 to his son, Emperor Go-Uda, one of his 36 children. Although Kameyama’s son was the emperor in name, Kameyama remained in charge of imperial affairs throughout Go-Uda’s thirteen years on the throne.  

Two Mongol invasions marked the reigns of Kameyama’ his son Go-Uda. The first was in 1274 at the end of Kameyama’s rule. Forty thousand Mongolian soldiers landed in what is now known as Fukuoka. The invaders were defeated by the Japanese when a huge storm suddenly erupted, scattering the Mongolian fleet. 

Five years later, in 1279, during the reign of Go-Uda, the Mongols attacked Japan for the second time. It was, miraculously, with the aid of another storm, a severe typhoon, that the Japanese were able to repulse this second Mongolian invasion. This storm was named “Kamikaze,” or Divine Wind, as it was responsible for saving the Japanese army. 

The sculpture of young Emperor Kameyama shows him dressed in resplendent court attire.  He wears a kimono vest tied together with a large belt called an Obi. He also sports a popular young boy’s haircut with long sideburns, bangs, and a shaved head.