Designed as a series of seven rectangular-shaped panels, each textured yellow gold surface embellished with a scene inspired by Japanese culture, including; a figure dressed in a Kimono, playing a Eiwa (Japanese lute), with a dragon swirling around them in a billowing cloudscape; a traditional fan embellished with a bird and foliage, adjacent to a cricket insect and grape vine; a reeded river bank at which storks drink whilst another flies above; a Shakudo disc decorated with the scene of a mouse and a frog rowing a boat on water below a willow tree, foliate decoration below and a butterfly above; a woven bamboo basket housing a floral arrangement 'Ikebana' including lotus flowers; a pheasant-like bird beneath a bamboo plantation; a tasseled fixed fan or 'Uchiwa' decorated with a floral and foliate design with a bird, above which another bird flies and below an insect, all in Shakudo, copper alloy, silver and gold, circa 1880. Dimensions: Length: 17.65cm, width: 2.4cm. Weight: 76 grams
Note: With Western fervour for Japan-inspired artworks, especially in decorative arts, a style of somewhat amalgamated Japanese and Chinese influences developed within European (and American) craftsmen. This 'Japonisme' was at its zenith in the late 19th Century, having been intensified by the opening of Japan for trade for the first time in 200 years in 1868, and this having heightened the reverence for Japanese artistic fields. As well as lacquerware and other Oriental techniques, Shakudo (a Japanese bullion composed of gold and copper) accents within jewellery designs referencing Japanese culture and aesthetics were developed. This particular bracelet is a richer example than most with the emphasis on yellow gold rather than Shakudo.