Kirsten's Corner

Antique Bronze Meiji Era Okimono Crab

This is a wonderful Meiji era Okimono crab, made of solid bronze in the 1890s. It measures approximately 3 x 2 x 1-1/2 inches in size and has nice weight to it. It has great realistic details and textures, making it a very curious object, and a fine collectible.

The Meiji period in Japan spanned from 1868 to 1912. The Meiji period was a time of great social and economic transformation for Japan. In a very short time, Japan moved from an isolated feudal society to its modern form. Throughout the Meiji era there was an intense drive to modernize and keep up with Western advances. However, this drive was matched by the desire to resist foreign influences. Once the Japanese assimilated these Western aspects, they formed a new but distinctly Japanese modern society. The affects of this touched all areas of life, but perhaps can be most prominently seen in the art of the Meiji era.

An okimono is a Japanese decorative object. The artists that made these particular kinds of artifacts were people who used to make armor for a living. In the middle part of the 19th century, the feudal system collapsed in Japan and these armor-makers lost their jobs. They utilized their skills and began to make tourist objects and small souvenirs out of bronze such as this crab. The small-scale pieces from this era evoke Japan’s national traditions and aesthetics. In addition, they offer insight to the everyday tasks and duties of daily life during the Meiji era.

Recently viewed