Japanese bronze rat with turnips signed Shusei and Ryoun Meiji period

Japanese bronze rat with turnips signed Shusei and Ryoun Meiji period

Code: 10181


W: 25cm (9.8")H: 26cm (10.2")D: 19cm (7.5")


Japanese silvered bronze rat naturalistically modelled standing on its rear haunches and with its head bent slightly down to eat a small nut held in its forepaws, standing on large turnips, with inlaid shakudo eyes signed with chiselled characters under the rat Shusei 秀誠 and in an oval plaque under the turnip Ryoun 凌雲, late Meiji period 1868-1912.

The rat (nezumi 鼠) is Daikoku’s messenger, one of the seven Gods of good fortune, and is the first animalof the Oriental Zodiac, symbolic of bounty and abundance.

Nojiri Shusei 野尻秀誠 was a member of the Tokyo Doki 東京銅器 (the Tokyo Bronze Company) and was active during the Meiji and Taisho- periods.

Takahashi Ryoun 高橋凌雲 lived in Tokyo and his artistic career spanned from the mid-Meiji period to the Taisho- period. He graduated from the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, and was famed for his skill in casting bronze. The Tokyo Casting Association lists him as a designated special member, a ranking reserved for the best artists.

He exhibited at the Paris Great Exposition in 1900 and entered three pieces in the Exhibition catalogue, two pieces were exhibited in the Award winning catalogue. His work can be found in the Museum of the Japanese Imperial Collections in Tokyo (Sannomaru Shōzokan 宮 内庁三の丸尚蔵館).

The work in the Exhibition catalogue (plate 34) The Era of Meiji Bijutsu-kai and Nihon Kinko Kyokai: Reappraisal of Meiji Art I, won the Silver Medal at the Tokyo Chōkō-kai (Tokyo Sculptors’ Association) in 1900.