This yatate, or traveler's pen case, is made of wrought brass, and has a long tube to hold the brush and a deep pot for the ink, which would have been saturated in a cotton wad. The lid snaps snugly over the pot to contain the ink, and a tab connected to the lid covers the end of the tube that contains the brush. A logo is inscribed on the tab in the form of a hiragana ya beneath a roof-shaped mark. A brass loop for attachment is still intact on the tube near the ink pot. The opposite end of the tube ends in a brass ball. There are a few small nicks and scratches from use, as would be expected, but it is generally in very good condition.
Length: 8 ¼ in., Height: 2 3/8 in.
This bronze sculpture of a ram is rather heavy cast and has well-delineated features in both face and coat. It is in good condition and it has its original applied reddish-brown patina overall. No signature is present. This particular subject is not often seen among Japanese bronze sculptures, and it is likely from a set of twelve zodiac figures. Acquired in North Carolina in the early 1980s.
Length: 9 in., Width: 4 ¾ in., Height: 7 ½ in., Weight: about 7 pounds.
This large rectangular bronze dish is cast with a bamboo basketwork design on the exterior and the base. In the center of the base is a raised rectangular cartouche with the maker's signature. It is supported by four short feet in the shape of bamboo stalks, and on the sides there are two vertical cylindrical handles. It retains its original even, brown petina overall. On the exterior and interior, there appears to be an old coating of black lacquer with considerable areas of verdigris showing through. Well-cast and in good condition.
Length: 18 ¼ in., Width: 10 ¾ in., Height: 4 ½ in.
Heavy bronze mallet is cast with a stylized floral motif framed by a key fret design in a rectangular panel wrapping partially around the barrel-form mallet head. The mallet faces are both inlaid with copper and niello (copper, silver, sulphur alloy). The handle is inlaid with niello and incised with the artist’s signature reading “Kozan saku” (made by Kozan). The hole in the base of the handle was for a decorative silk cord, now missing. The mallet head is silvered overall except for the frame of the floral design which shows bronze. The narrow sides of the handle are silvered. The silver has worn off in some areas exposing the bronze base. There are areas of wear and some minor scratches and light tarnish. Rather heavy at five pounds.
Sculptures of Daikoku’s mallet were displayed in homes as a wish for prosperity particularly at New Year’s. Daikoku was one of Japan’s seven lucky gods, usually depicted sitting atop two rice bales holding his distinctive mallet. Daikoku is revered as a household protector of farmers and their land. His mallet alone is often displayed as the representative symbol for all his attributes.
Size of mallet head: 7 7/8 in. by 4 ¼ in. by 3 ¾ in.
The bronze disk forming the base is decorated with an evening floral scene with an inlaid silver moon with incised stylized clouds. The incised plum branch is set with inlaid gilt copper flower blossoms. The large blossoms in high relief are overlaid with silver and have inlaid gold leaves and copper leaves in relief. The well is finely woven to resemble bamboo basketry using thin strips of patinated copper and finished off with a rim in bronze convincingly cast to look like bamboo. Good condition with excellent craftsmanship, some light wear and mottling to the patina, unsigned.
Diameter: 10 ½ in.; Height: 1 ½ in.
Heavy, pure silver box with gold, silver, and copper inlaid bronze plaque inset in lid. The bronze plaque depicts a scene of dragonflies amidst autumn grasses. The grass is both incised and raised. The seeds are all inlaid gold. The dragonflies are raised above the surface with silver wings and copper bodies and the smallest dragonfly is inlaid with silver and copper. The sides of the box are incised with floral medallions and the base is raised on four solid silver feet. The interior of the lid is inscribed with a commemoration dated: Taisho 8 (1918). The base, near one foot is impressed with a “Jungin” (pure silver) seal. Very finely crafted presentation item. The lid fits snugly and the condition is very good, only having a few minor nicks and scratches.
Size: 4 ¼ by 5 7/8 in.; Height: 2 in.