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Lot 1856


Estimated Value:

30.000 € - 50.000 €



Japan, Kyoto, signed Kôzanbô Muneyoshi 好山房宗義, Meiji period
L. 78 cm
The exceptionally large pheasant is signed "Kôzanbô Muneyoshi" 好山房宗義 in a rectangular cartouche. The term Kozanbô refers to the workshop (bô) of the metal artist Takase Kozan (1868-1934), while Muneyoshi is the name of the actual maker. The use of the character mune implies a connection to the Myôchin workshop which was famous for their articulated animals (jizai okimono).
Important Bavarian private collection, bought 28.3.1994, Lot 87 from Christie's London by the present owner
According to Harada Kazutoshi, Special Research Chair at the Tokyo National Museum, the earliest-known jizai okimono dates from 1713. It is not clear for what purpose they were made, or from where the complicated manufacturing techniques originated. However, as the demand for armour markedly diminished during the peaceful reign of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the Edo period, the famous Myochin Family, renowned for their excellent forging of iron armour, turned to the production of other forged iron materials such as tea ceremony kettles, boxes, sword guards and jizai okimono. Since the makers were working in concert with the government's policy of promoting industry, exporting decorative art and participating in Domestic and International Expositions, many of these jizai-okimono found their way to the West.
Takase Kozan joined the export company of Ikeda Seisuke in Kobe in 1883, and in 1887 he transferred to the metal department, which was located in Kyoto. Here he studied the metal craft under Tomiki Isuke (1835-1894), who apart from producing trowels for plastering, made jizai okimono such as snakes, dragons and insects . In 1893, at the age of 24, Takase Kôzan founded his own okimono workshop in Kyoto and started a business selling metalwork both domestically and abroad. Kozan jizai okimono were made of iron, copper or patinated copper alloys. He participated in numerous exhibitions and sold insect okimono to the Crown Prince, the future Taishô emperor, when he visited Kyoto in 1910. Later he taught and supervised his workshop without making any okimono himself. Among the large animals of the Kozan workshop we find a phoenix now in the Hosomi Museum and a carp with movable fins and mouth now in the collection of the Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Art Museum, both in Kyoto. Kozan also created articulated animals, such as the "Twelve Types of Insects" in silver and copper, including grasshoppers, stag beetles, cicadas and dragonflies. A complete set of insects is in the collection of the Mitsui Memorial Museum of Art and of the Kasama Nichidô Art Museum - Very minor traces of age, good condition