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Shakudo Locket on Integrated Chain Necklace

Shakudo Locket on Integrated Chain Necklace

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: Pre 1900: Item # 1440162
Moylan-Smelkinson/The Spare Room
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P.O. Box 4684
Baltimore, Maryland 21212
tel. 410-435-3738

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Stunning Shakudo necklace set on silver and inlaid with copper and gold. One side of the 2 sided locket shows a stylized scene of ornately carved leaves and chrysanthemums, a symbol of the Japanese monarchy. The other side shows two satirically carved Japanese men alongside the emperor's horse, thrilled with their presumably successful feat of saving the emperor. The headgear worn by the two men are typically worn by higher ranking aristocrats and are called Eboshi. Shakudo is a technique that developed with the Japanese from their tradition of sword making. Sword fittings and shields became highly decorative with the magnificent inlays of alloys of gold and copper. After the wearing of swords was prohibited in 1877, Japanese jewelry artisans transferred their skills to jewelry making. the charm and asymmetry of the designs, often of trees and birds and flowers, attracted the attention of the Western world which was ready at this time to move beyond the overdone symmetry of neoclassicism. During the later part of the 19th century, Japanaiserie, including Shakudo (gold and copper) and its counterpart, shibuichi (silver and copper) were immensely popular in the Western market. The integral chain has a well functioning tube clasp (shown) which holds the chain securely closed. The locket has a stationary bale from which the chain is attached. The secure chain is 18 inches long without the pendant, has thick double interlocking links and is of sterling silver. Locket and chain together weigh 45 grams. The locket can be easily separated from the chain by a jeweler, if desired. Happily, the jewelry artisan designed this chain and pendant duo so that the tube clasp cannot go through the silver ring manually and separated by hand; this is likely the reason the chain and locket have remained a marriage and stayed together for all these years.