Japanese bronze Tanuki with its head resting on its front crossed paws, the eyes inlaid in shakudo and gilt and body with a brown patination, signed with chiselled characters under the base Hideaki saku 秀明作 (made by Hideaki), and tomobako wood storage box, Meiji Period 1868-1912.
The Tanuki 狸 (Japanese raccoon dog) often features in Japanese tales.
The legendary animal has a mischievous nature and magical powers making it capable of shape shifting into human form or into objects. The Tanuki has a long tail, which it uses to wrap itself into a bundle and hide, or to baffle its enemies.
For a similar bronze model by Oshima Joun see 'Japanese Works of Art catalogue' M. Fairley 2016, no. 7.
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