A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894
Lot 563*
A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk
Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894
Sold for £121,250 (US$ 189,390) inc. premium

Lot Details
A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894 A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894
A fine and rare iron kusshin jizai (fully articulated) okimono model of a hawk
Attributed to Itao Shinjiro (1842-1911), circa 1894
Realistically rendered, the leg joints, claws, head, wings, tail and mouth each intricately constructed of extremely smoothly moving parts, the eyes inlaid in gilt with black pupils, the predatory bird perched in a portrait-like pose on a separate tall wood daiboko (hawk stand), unsigned. The hawk 29cm x 41cm (11 3/8in x 16 1/8in), the wood stand 65.3cm x 48.3cm (25¾in x 19in). (2).

Footnotes

  • 鉄屈伸自在置物 鷹 伝板尾新次郎作 1894年頃

    Provenance: a Japanese private institution.

    Exhibited: Tokyo National Museum, published and illustrated in the Exhibition Catalogue, Jizai Okimono - Honmono no yo ni jiyu ni ugokaseru hebi ya konchu - (Articulated Ornaments: Snakes and Insects That Can be Moved Just Like the Real Thing), Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, 2008, pl.20.

    Exhibited: Sen-oku Hakukokan Bunkan, Sano Museum, Osaka Museum of History and Okayama Prefectural Museum, published and illustrated in the Exhibition Catalogue, Bakumatsu, Meiji no chozetsu giko, Sekai o kyogakusaseta kinzoku kogei (Excellent Techniques of Metal Crafts, the late Edo and Meiji Period), Sano Museum, Shizuoka, 2010, pl.164, p135.

    Published and illustrated: Harada Kazutoshi, Jizai Okimono - Articulated Iron Figures of Animals, Bessatsu Rokusho, vol.11, Maria Shobo, Kyoto, 2010, pp.56-57, pl.18.

    Published: the present lot is the 'Adjustable Iron Statue of Hawk' which won a Silver Medal at the 1894 Spring Exhibition of the Japan Art Association and is illustrated, along with prize-winning works by artists working in other media, in The Magazine of Japanese Art (Japanese title: Bijutsu gaho), Tokyo, Gahosha, vol.1 (1894), no.5. The admiring English-language commentary, while allowing that articulated animals might have originated in China, boasts 'we have certainly succeeded in making a nobler and more practical use of it than the Chinese ever seem to have thought of. Mr. Itawo [sic], our artist, is . . . a metalworker of no common ability, having a particular aptitude for the kind above mentioned in wrought or hammered iron . . . The beautiful execution and tone of color given to the material, alone, not to say anything about the ingenious arrangement, would entitle it to be classed among works of high art . . . Mr. Santo is his warm admirer and patron, and this is but one of many works he has caused to be executed by this singularly gifted artist.'

    Only two other iron articulated hawks have hitherto been recorded. Compare with an articulated hawk by Myochin Kiyoharu in the collection of Tokyo National Museum, illustrated by Ito Yoshiaki et al., in the NHK Exhibition Catalogue, Commemorating the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan Arts of the East and West from World Expositions, 1855-1900, Paris, Vienna and Chicago, 2004, p.080, no.I-191; and another articulated iron hawk (unsigned), in a private collection in France, illustrated by Harada Kazutoshi, ibid., p.058, no.19.

    According to the chronology of Itao Shinjiro created by Naito Naoko and published in her article Kindai no kogei o meguru 'chuo' to 'chiho' ni kansuru ichikosatsu: Kindai Osaka no kinzoku kogei no doko o sozai to shite (Consideration of the Modern 'Center' and 'Local City' Involving Craftsmen: Regarding the Trends of the Metal Craftsmen of Modern Osaka),' Osaka Rekishi Hakubutsukan kenkyu kiyo (Bulletin of Osaka Museum of History), no.11 (Feb. 2013), pp.47-60, Itao was born in 1842 and remained in Wakayama until about 1878 when he moved to Tokyo and studied machinery before relocating to Osaka in 1891. He exhibited an articulated iron eagle at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893) and an uchidashi (repoussé) parrot at the fourth Naikoku Kangyo Hakurankai (National Industrial Exposition) in 1895. In the same year he was invited by Okakura Kakuzo (Tenshin) to teach wrought ironworking at the newly established Tokyo Art School, an indication of the high esteem in which he was held, but he declined on health grounds. He later exhibited a 'gold-inlaid okimono (ornament)' at the 1900 Paris Exposition.

    The 1895 and 1900 exhibitions of his wares are confirmed by Tokyo Kokuritsu Bunkazai Kenkyujo (Tokyo National Research Institution of Cultural Properties), Naikoku kangyo hakurankai bijutsuhin shuppin mokuroku (Catalogs of Objects Exhibited at the National Industrial Expositions), Tokyo, Chuokoron Bijutsu Shuppan, 1996, no.IV-619 and ibid., Meijiki bankoku hakurankai bijutsuhin shuppin mokuroku [Catalogs of Objects Exhibited at International Expositions in the Meiji Period], Tokyo, Chuokoron Bijutsu Shuppan, 1997, nos.P-570 and R-413. Other details of Naito's chronology are problematic since she states that Itao received a prize for a crayfish (not a hawk) at the 1894 Spring Exhibition of the Japan Art Association and also mentions an iron articulated 'hawk' shown at a Spring Exhibition for which she gives no date. In any event it is clear that Itao's known works are very few in number, perhaps on account of their especially meticulous workmanship.

    Of all the categories of Edo-period artefacts eagerly collected outside Japan for the last century and a half, articulated animals and birds have the least trace of documentary evidence concerning their origin and development. Even the Japanese word for them, jizai or jizai okimono, appears to be a post-Edo term. However despite the obscurity of their origins, these displays of Oriental dexterity perfectly matched a trend in Western Orientalist taste in the last quarter of the 19th century. In the West they were first highlighted in Le Japon Artistique of 1881 which reproduces in three different positions, and describes in detail, an articulated frog. Surprisingly, it seems that jizai okimono were not brought fully to the attention of Japanese audiences until October 1983, when several examples were displayed in the special exhibition Japanese Metalwork held at Tokyo National Museum.

    An exquisite example of a jizai okimono, this perfectly formed, naturalistically rendered hawk can move its body remarkably smoothly: the limbs and claws are also freely movable and the head can be turned 180 degrees, while the neck, tail and wings can be shortened or stretched out at will as implied by the term kusshin ('bending and stretching') used by the 1894 writer, enabling it to imitate the movements of its real-life counterparts.
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