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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Japan : Edo Period Decorated Bronze Mirror
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Edo Period Decorated Bronze Mirror - FZ.227
Origin: Japan
Circa: 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 13.375" (34.0cm) high x 9.5" (24.1cm) wide
Collection: Asian
Style: Edo Period
Medium: Bronze

Additional Information: Signed by the Artist Muneaki

Location: United States
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This exquisite mirror was perhaps created to celebrate a marriage or some other auspicious occasion. Its iconography depicts animals and plants traditionally symbolic of luck. The three trees--plum, pine, and bamboo--are thought to bring happiness, while the two cranes and the turtle guarantee a long and healthy life. The serene beauty of nature has been skillfully bent to the service of art. Surely the woman who gazed into this mirror long ago must have felt happy and fortunate indeed. Report on Japanese Bronze Mirror Item FZ.227 Decoration As you indicate the designs on this mirror contain many auspicious references. One is Longevity, a wish for long life, which is indicated by the general setting (the Islands of the Blest - where the Immortals live), plus the Three Friends (pine tree, crane and bamboo) each of which live long lives and together form a reinforced blessing plus the tortoise, another long lived creature plus the pine tree by itself, with the name of Takasago signifying long life AND Takasago also signifies marital bliss which itself is also represented by the pair of cranes You couldn;t get a more felicitous wedding present to a bride. Inscription The inscription reads in full Tenka- ichi Shimizu Kawachi kami Muneaki i.e., 'First under Heaven, Governor of Kawachi (Province), (made by) Muneaki' '. Because of the short form of the inscription, the meaning is not yet fully explained, but:- First under heaven' was a description used by artisans, meaning 'Best on earth'. The former Kawachi Province is now part of present-day Osaka Muneali was the personal name of the maker. His family name was probaly Fujiwara, the main mirror-makers of the time. Dating Other mirrors by Muneki have not been recorded but, considering the size, the nature of the inscription and the design, I would attribute this to late Edo, c 1840 (ie 1820-1860) The above report was issued by Les Page - (FZ.227)


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