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A patinated bronze ornament of an elephant supporting a pagoda
A patinated bronze ornament of an elephant supporting a pagoda

MEIJI PERIOD (EARLY 20TH CENTURY), ELEPHANT SIGNED BIZAN SAKU (MADE BY BIZAN); PAGODA WITH MARK OF FUJII (FUJII YOSHITOYO)

Details
A patinated bronze ornament of an elephant supporting a pagoda
Meiji period (early 20th century), elephant signed Bizan saku (made by Bizan); pagoda with mark of Fujii (Fujii Yoshitoyo)
Naturalistically cast and patinated as an elephant supporting a pagoda on its back, the body and tusks of the elephant finished in gilt silver, the finely constructed hexagonal pagoda suspending roof tassels set on a saddle decorated in gilt damascene with the scenery of famous places, dragons, birds and flowers, the hinged doors opening to reveal three drawers, the fluted top of the pagoda lifting off to reveal a compartment; signature and mark on underside
19in. (48.3cm.) high

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Lot Essay

In the seventeenth century, porcelain models of elephants were produced in Hizen province and exported to Europe by the Dutch East India Company. A pair of Kakiemon models of elephants were recorded on the inventory of the Burghley House Collection in 1688. Models of elephants were popular in Europe and were produced for export in considerable number and variety from the Edo through Meiji period.

Fujii Yoshitoyo, who specialized in inlaid metalwork, was active in the late Meiji period in Tokyo. He was awarded a silver medal in Japan-British Exhibition held in London in 1910. His work is in the collection of the University Art Museum, Tokyo University of The Arts. For another work signed by Yoshitoyo, see Metalwork, Part I, vol. 2 of Meiji no Takara Treasures of Imperial Japan: The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Japanese Art, Oliver Impey and Malcolm Fairley, gen. eds. (London: The Kibo Foundation, 1995), no. 37.

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