An impressive iron articulated model of a dragon
An impressive iron articulated model of a dragon


An impressive iron articulated model of a dragon
Edo period (19th century), signed Munenobu saku (Made by Myochin Munenobu) in gilt
The russet-iron dragon finely constructed of numerous hammered plates jointed inside the body; the mouth opens, the tongue, limbs and claws move, the body bends, the head is applied with elaborate horns, spines and whiskers, the details are finely carved and chiseled, the eyes of shakudo embellished with gilt; signature on underside of jaw
23 5/8 in. (60 cm.) long
Previously sold in these Rooms, 30 March 1990, lot 300

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Lot Essay

The dragon is associated with a wealth of legend and symbolism in old Japan, signifying both the holy nature of Shinto and the wisdom of Buddhism. Representations of the dragon are found from the earliest historical period wall paintings in the stone tomb chambers of the Kofun period (4th - 7th centuries) together with tiger, phoenix, and gryphon. In Shinto mythology, the deity Ryujin is a dragon who lives under the sea and bears a jewel which controls the tides. In esoteric Buddhism the dragon together with the sword indicate the rope and double-edged sword of Fudo Myo-o, and is the manifestation of other deities. It is also used frequently as the fore-crest on a helmet.

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