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Ezo Menuki

T0130

An excellent large pair of Ezo fox menuki.   Wonderful condition.    6.084 cm x 1.464 cm 6.036 cm x 1.556 cm.   I have been doing this for more than a few years, and I have never efore come across kitsune menuki.  To my eye, the motif and execution appears to be very early in the production.  Considering the size, these would fit well with the large tachi of the Nambokucho period (1336 -1392).

Executed in an alloy called rogin (鑞金) with gold gilding. Rogin is a similar alloy to shibuichi, but with a broader range of silver content. Formed by setting on a mold, then hammered from the back, in a process like repouss, called uchidashi (打出).  The front is  then worked with fine carving and engraving to finish the motif

It is thought that Ezo menuki are an extension of Kyo Kanagushi menuki and that they appeared in the Kamakura period. They continued on into the early Edo period. For some time  it was thought that Ezo had some connection to the Ainu.  However, during the later part the 20th century, research found that they did in fact have nothing to do with the Ainu and are probably from the surrounding areas of Kyoto or some other metropolitan city.  $2,950

Note:   After discussing his thought with James Lawson, I believe that I need to agree, that these are squirrels, not foxes.  This makes them more interesting, since squirrels are not indigenous to Japan,    So like Yasuchika's elephants, the artist was working with the description of an international traveler.  I well remember, when Daisuke Saito was visiting, he had to inquire what the squirrels in the yard were.

 

                                                   6.036 cm x 1.556 cm                                                                                                                       6.084 cm x 1.464 cm

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