Fine Japanese Art / An iron okimono figure of Monju Bosatsu By Unno Shomin (1844-1915), late Edo Period (3)
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鉄置物 文殊菩薩 海野勝珉（基平）作 江戸時代後期
Unno Shomin is perhaps the most famous of the generation of metaworkers who started their careers in the sword-fitting workshops of the Mito fief; he moved to nearby Tokyo in the early Meiji era, changing his name from Motohira to Shomin. He showed great promise from an early age, studying calligraphy and painting in addition to chiseling, and was soon awarded the art-name Shomin, "superior to [So]min," in the expectation that his work would one day excel even that of Yokoya Somin (1670–1733), a famed mid-Edo-period master. After the samurai privilege of wearing two swords was revoked in 1876 he threw himself into the development of new types of products for both Japanese and international customers, exhibited frequently at expositions inside and outside Japan, served as a professor at Tokyo Art School, and in 1896 was appointed to the order of Teishitsu Gigeiin (Artist-Craftsman to the Imperial Household). He had numerous accomplished disciples (for Shomin's biography, see Wakayama Homatsu, Kinko Jiten [Dictionary of Metalworkers], Tokyo, Yuzankaku, 1972, pp.54–55).
Toyokawa Mitsunaga II (1851-1923) was a Tokyo metal-worker who excelled at making kozuka and menuki using the takabori technique. 1
1. Wakayama Takeshi, Kinko jiten (Dictionary of Metalworkers), Tokyo, Token Shunju Shinbunsha, 1999, pp.399-400.