Japanese Iron Kanemono Pouch Fitting/Menuki | Dragon and Tiger | 19th Century
This is an exquisite example of the finest of Japanese 19th century metalwork, in the form of a kanemono, or clasp with its original silver back plate. The high-relief repousse depicts a dragon in silver and a tiger in gold, magnificent in its composition and detail, down to the minute working of the dragon’s scales and tiger’s fur. The eyes of each animal are quite expressive. The dragon, in Japanese folkart, is a symbol of power, masculine principle and heavenly wisdom. The tiger in Japan represents strength; its prowess, and its ferocity embody the spirit and drive to achieve and maintain progress. The piece is in its original and excellent condition, and silver fittings of this quality and high relief are becoming rare. Dimensions: 1-5/8”L x 5/8”w.
This metalwork is referred to as Shakudo, which is a traditional Japanese material, and is an alloy of gold and copper; the dark black patina is achieved by applying a compound called Rokusho to the piece, and then heating it. The technique was used in Japanese armor and sword making.