Set of three large identical keman, made of gilt bronze. Decorative hangings from a Buddhist temple.
Each keman is fan-shaped (or perhaps boar's eye-shaped) with a design of two pairs of double chrysanthemum family crests set between karakusa (winding weeds) in openwork. The knotted cord in the center is executed in gilt bronze repoussé (hollow underneath). The openwork design is very carefully executed, with engraved details and nanako ground.
The ‘saddles’ are decorated with kiku-mon between karakusa, in low relief.
From the bottom of each keman three solid brass balls are suspended, which may be original, or may be replacements for streamers.
The family crests each contain a 16-petaled chrysanthemum, two of which hold a double plum blossom in the center. The double chrysanthemum could point to a family relation with the imperial family. The keman were probably hanging in a family temple.
Japan, Edo period, 19th century.
H 10.75 x W 14 in. (27.8 x 35.6 cm).
H incl. ring and balls 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Some of the eyelets from which the balls were dangling are broken, gilding rubbed (on the reverse the gilding is better preserved than on the front), otherwise excellent condition.