We adore this c 1880 Shakudo brooch featuring a rare image of Mt. Fugi in the background.Shakudo is an ancient Japanese art form which developed from the Samurai tradition of sword making. The metalwork used in the Shakudo technique consists of inlays of alloys of gold and copper on a dark copper base, and most often depicts scenes from the natural world. Shakudo became popular during the aesthetic period which spanned 1880 to about 1900, when Japanese jewelry artisans were banned from sword decorating and consequently turned their attention to crafting jewelry. The charm and asymmetry of the designs, often of trees and birds and flowers, attracted the attention of Western world which was only to ready at this time to move beyond the overworked and overwrought symmetry of neoclassicism. During the later part of the 19th century, Japonoiserie, including Shakudo (gold and copper) and its counterpart, shibuichi (silver and copper) were all the rage.
This particular brooch is unusual in that it depicts an image of Mount Fugi which is rarely seen. It also features various colors of gold in this delightful scene where graceful birds frolic among the trees and daisies and flowers with their sweetly exaggerated leaves as Mount Fugi beckons in the background.