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circa 1880
A beautifully fine Shakudo bracelet set with eight oval plaques in twisted gold wirework frames.

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A wonderful Shakudo bracelet c.1880, composed of eight beautifully crafted oval Shakudo panels depicting individual scenes of flora and fauna including frogs, a quail and a crane, seven are the same size and the one that conceals the clasp is larger, all in twisted gold wire-work frames, to a tongue and box clasp, in original lacquer box.
  • OriginJapanese
  • Condition ReportVery fine
  • SettingGold
  • Weight description68 grams
  • Dimensions17cm / 6.6" long, 3cm / 1.4" wide
Directors notes
Shakudo is the Japanese term (meaning ‘black gold’) used to describe a type of metal alloy that is primarily composed of copper with a small quantity of gold added to it, typically between 2 and 7%. When treated with a solution it obtains a durable dark surface colouration against which the gold and silver inlay patterns show up in high contrast. The origins of Japanese metal art have been traced back centuries and there is some evidence it actually originated in Ancient Greece and Rome before the techniques and skills moved eastward.
The panels in this beautiful bracelet depict various scenes many of which feature flora and fauna which are rich in symbolism. For example, there are several different birds illustrated including a crane which is used to represent good fortune and longevity. One panel depicts three frogs with a rickshaw and this animal was regarded as lucky, symbolising not only good fortune but also a safe return from travel. The moon is a common motif in Japanese art and is used as a symbol of rejuvenation, as is the chrysanthemum which also stands for endurance whilst plum blossom represents refinement and purity.