Antique Japanese Kanemono

Antique Japanese Mixed Metal Kanemono | Shakudo Samurai and Courtier Menuki | 19th Century


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 2-6/8”L x 1-0”w

This is a beautiful, high-relief example of the finest of Japanese 19th-century metalwork, in the form of a Kanemono, or clasp, executed in bronze, 18k gold, and copper on its original sterling backplate. The piece incorporates deep detailing in the definition of the two figures, the leading figure, (samurai) with a sterling face and hands and gold accented clothing, (hakama and robes) with a shoulder pole from which gold strap geta are hanging, as he travels wearing gold-accented zori. The second figure is an attendant, (courtier)  who is carrying travel bags and whose body form is in copper, his clothing (outer garment and gold strapped zori), accented in 18k gold, (all executed in patinated Shakudo, combined metal alloy), into a range of subtle muted shade. Also seen in the grouping is an expressive dog with gold eyes, snapping at their heals. The entire composition is on a patinated darker black metal compound called Rokusho.

The sterling backplate is equally exceptional in detailing illustrating pine trees (Matsunoki), a sacred turtle, (Kame), and a flying crane each accented with gold. The piece is signed and identified as Nagamasa Chosei, who was a metalwork craftsman from Kyoto in the 18th/century. This type of craftsmanship has its origins in the making of Japanese armor and swords. It was banned in 1876 by the Japanese government, so artisans turned to fittings to continue this honorable craft. 

Condition: The piece exhibits exceptional workmanship, original condition, no missing decorative elements with superb intricate detailing. 

NOTE: In the latter period of the Edo age [1603-1867], Obi-dome became the invention of the Oiran and was later adopted by the Geisha from wealthy families. Wealthy Oiran and Geisha adorned their obi with bronze Kanemono and Menuki (metal fittings) of Katana (Japanese sword) as a vow of love.