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

MEIJI PERIOD (LATE 19TH CENTURY), SIGNED MUNEKAZU (TOMIKI ISUKE I; 1835-1894)

Details
AN IRON ARTICULATED SCULPTURE OF A SNAKE
MEIJI PERIOD (LATE 19TH CENTURY), SIGNED MUNEKAZU (TOMIKI ISUKE I; 1835-1894)
The iron snake constructed of numerous hammered plates jointed inside the body, the head finely incised with hinged jaw opening to reveal a movable tongue, gilt eyes, signature on underside of jaw
65 3/8 in. (166.1 cm.)
Provenance
Robert Winter Japanese Art, Kyoto

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Lot Essay

The snake is one of the most suitable subjects for jizai sculpture given the naturalistic flexibility and undulating qualities of its overlapping, jointed plates. In Japanese culture, the snake is auspicious, symbolizing successful harvests and fertility. In the field, the snake eats mice and other pests. The molting nature of the reptile suggests regeneration and immortality.
Munekazu is the art name of Tomiki Isuke I (1835-1894) who was born in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture. Unlike other jizai artists from Edo period, Munekazu did not apprentice with the Myochin school and it is unclear how he started to create sculptures. At his studio in Kyoto he tutored Takase Kozan (1869-1934) and Muneyoshi (Tanaka Tadayoshi;?-1958).

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