Japanese and Chinese antiques and art from B & C
Japanese Match Safe with Chrysanthemums

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Metalwork: Pre 1920: item # 496201

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B & C   Antiques
P. O. Box 291
Derby, CT 06418

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Japanese Match Safe with Chrysanthemums

This unusual copper match-safe is wonderfully decorated in high relief with blossoming spider chrysanthemums. Meiji/Taisho period, early 20th century. Both sides feature two large spider mums, their gracefully arching petals beautifully rendered in superb detail. Because it was used to carry wooden stick matches, the case’s bottom has a grooved strike-a-light. Probably the most frequently represented flower in all of Japanese art, the chrysanthemum has been respected in Japan since ancient times. It symbolizes peace and nobility, and its characteristic year-round growth, plus the long life of its beautiful blossoms, gives it a further significance of long life and consistency.

The art nouveau era produced wonders in match-safes as countries around the world strove to supply the smoker with every conceivable figural conception. Japan, always quick to follow the West in copying and improving on new ideas, produced match-safes in wonderful forms. Mostly made of brass, Japanese cases were made in Eastern designs with unlimited artistic themes, all done in miniature detail with the most pleasing renditions and the highest quality craftsmanship. Match-safes were made to give the owner both visual and tactile pleasure as they fit comfortably into the hand. Cases were appealing to both men and women and were easily carried in the kimono sleeve. (See “The Oriental Match-Safe” by Earle J. Stone in ARTS OF ASIA September/October 1986.)

CONDITION is excellent, with great overall patina.

DIMENSIONS: 2 ¾” (7 cm) high, 1 ½” (3.8 cm) wide, 3/8” (1 cm) deep.

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