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AN IRON ARTICULATED SCULPTURE OF A DRAGON
AN IRON ARTICULATED SCULPTURE OF A DRAGON
AN IRON ARTICULATED SCULPTURE OF A DRAGON
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AN IRON ARTICULATED SCULPTURE OF A DRAGON
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PROPERTY FROM A PRINCELY COLLECTION
AN IRON ARTICULATED SCULPTURE OF A DRAGON

EDO PERIOD (19TH CENTURY), SIGNED KIYOHARU (MYOCHIN KIYOHARU)

Details
AN IRON ARTICULATED SCULPTURE OF A DRAGON
EDO PERIOD (19TH CENTURY), SIGNED KIYOHARU (MYOCHIN KIYOHARU)
The russet-iron dragon finely constructed of numerous hammered plates jointed inside the body; the hinged jaw opening to reveal a movable tongue, ears, limbs and claws move, the body bends, the head is applied with elaborate horns, spines and whiskers, the tail of the dragon entwining a double-edged gilt kurikaraken (sword), the details are finely carved and chiseled, the eyes of shakudo embellished with gilt; signature on underside of right arm
13 1/3 in. (33.8 cm.) long
Provenance
Bonhams, London, 10 November 2011, lot 376

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Lot Essay

The dragon is associated with Buddhism, Shinto and a wealth of legends as a harbinger of fertility, bliss and imperial power. The Dragon King of the Sea lives in a palace in the depth of the ocean from which he controls the weather and tides. The dragon is often described to be the most powerful mythical creature. In esoteric Buddhism, the dragon and double-edged sword, entwined together as the kurikara, symbolize the spiritual lasso and sword of the deity Fudo Myoo (Sanskrit, Acala "The Immovable One"), in Japanese especially revered by the samurai. The dragon is an imperial symbol and foremost of the four divine animals.
For a similar work by the same artist in the collection of the British Museum, see Harada Kazutoshi, ed., Jizai Okimono / Articulated Iron Figures of Animals, Rokusho 11, special edition (2010), no. 6.
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