Japanese bronze figure of Jurojin 寿老人, the God of learning and longevity holding in his hand the sacred scroll worked in silver, gold, shakudo and shibuichi accompanied by a crane standing on one leg with details finely carved, signed in a rectangular plaque Seiun 晴雲 on a wood base inlaid with fine silver wire decorations, late Meiji period (1868-1912).
The tomobako wood storage box bearing inscription:
Juro okimono, Hakkeido (Okimono of God Jurojin, Hakkeido) 壽老置物, 八景堂.
Label on the reverse lid: Kyobashiku Yazaemon-machi nibanchi, kikinzoku bijutsuhin, seisaku hanbai, Miyamoto Shoko, Miyamoto Shop, Ginza, Tokyo
京橋區 弥左衛門町二番地, 貴金属美術品 製作販賣, 宮本商行
(Retailed by Miyamoto Shop, Yazaemon-machi 2-banchi, Ginza district, Tokyo)
Kano Seiun I (art name Kano Ginzaburo) was born in 1871 and studied metalworking under the famous artist Oshima Joun.
He exhibited a bronze figures of sparrows at the Paris Exposition in 1900 and also exhibited at the 1914 Exhibition in Tokyo. One of his works is in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum.
Jurojin is one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune known collectively as the Shichifukuju (Seven Happiness beings).This serene God has a snow-white beard and carries a sacred staff of learning with an attached scroll containing the wisdom of the world. He is often in the company of a crane, a white stag or a turtle, all three emblems of longevity.
They are very popular amongst the Japanese, as they are considered benevolent friends, whose origins derive from Buddhism, Chinese Taoism, and Japanese Shinto.
Reference: 'Splendors of Imperial Japan, Arts of the Meiji Period from the Khalili Collection' by J. Earle pg. 378 no. 271.
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