This is an incredible Meiji-era Jizai Okinomo copper articulated crayfish, circa 1890. This piece is signed on the bottom.
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 such as this articulated crayfish. 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.
This crayfish is completely articulated, movable, and realistic. It is an exact replica of a real Japanese crayfish and is very fun to move around and put in different poses. It's "shell" is a dark brick red and is embellished with tiny details, adding to the naturalistic quality of the piece. With its antennae extended, this delightful sculpture is approximately 9” long. When the legs are fully splayed the have an approximate width of 3 1/2”. The crayfish’s body is approximately 1” at its widest point. This piece stands approximately 1 1/2 inches above the ground. This is a truly incredible articulated sculpture that is sure to be adored for years to come. Own a little piece of history today!