East Asia, Japan, Edo to Meiji period, ca. mid 19th to early 20th century CE. A bronze articulated model of a crayfish, with a signature on the underside of its carapace. Meticulously constructed of numerous hammered plates jointed inside the body to make for a flexible form, the body bends with ease. In addition, the crustacean's antennae, limbs, and tail move; surfaces are beautifully incised, some areas detailed in repousse, and the entire surface finished with a reddish-brown patina. This piece is a fabulous example of jizai okimono or lifelike, articulated animal figures. Such pieces were first created during a peaceful period in the 17th century when the business of crafting samurai armor calmed down, and some metalsmiths turned their attention to realizing articulated sculptures like this example. Size: 7.25" L including antennae x 2.625" W (18.4 cm x 6.7 cm)
A jizai okimono lobster, signed Kozan (Takase Kozan; 1869-1934) with cursive monogram (kao) sold at Christies New York for $37,500 on April 25, 2017.
See listing: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/a-bronze-articulated-model-of-a-lobster-6067716-details.aspx
For further contextual information, see this article: http://www.christies.com/features/A-Samurai-armourers-articulated-dragon-8184-3.aspx
Provenance: ex private Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA collection
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