Kirsten's Corner Jewelry

Meiji Japanese Articulated Bronze Crab


This is a beautifully intricate bronze articulated Crab circa late 19th/early 20th century. It measures 8 inches across its body longways and 3 inches in width. The Meiji period in Japan spanned from 1868 to 1912. The Meiji period was a time of great social and economic transformation for Japan. In a very short time, Japan moved from an isolated feudal society to its modern form. Throughout the Meiji era there was an intense drive to modernize and keep up with Western advances. However, this drive was matched by the desire to resist foreign influences. Once the Japanese assimilated these Western aspects, they formed a new but distinctly Japanese modern society. The affects of this touched all areas of life, but perhaps can be most prominently seen in the art of the Meiji era.

An okimono is a Japanese decorative object. The artists that made these particular kinds of artifacts were people who used to make armor for a living. In the middle part of the 19th century, the feudal system collapsed in Japan and these armor-makers lost their jobs. They utilized their skills and began to make tourist objects such as this articulated crayfish. The small-scale pieces from this era evoke Japan’s national traditions and aesthetics. In addition, they offer insight to the everyday tasks and duties of daily life during the Meiji era.

The Crab is fully articulated, and can move in a variety of poses. The area around the chest and mouth area has beautiful artistic detailing (pictured above) and everything else is realistic with attention to detail that the Japanese are know for. Beautiful red brown patina and lovely texture on the whole piece. It's like a real crab but made of bronze and representative of so much amazing history from the Meiji era.

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