Japanese bronze night watchman holding a lantern, finely worked on grounds of rich brown patination with gilt details of flowers and mon, the wood lacquered base with ho-o and foliate scrolls, signed Miyao 宮尾, Meiji period (1868-1912).
The lantern (chochin) is inscribed kan-nenbutsu 寒念佛 which literally means Nenbutsu during the cold season. During spells of cold weather, monks would go out into the mountains at dawn to chant the Nenbutsu.
Also in later times lay people chanted the Nenbutsu by beating the gong, and visiting houses to ask for donations.
The Miyao Company founded by Miyao Eisuke 宮尾栄助 had premises in both Tokyo and Yokohama, produced fine bronzes with a rich brown patina and gilded details. The Company exhibited at the National Industrial Exposition (Naikoku Kangyo Hakurankai) in 1881.
Reference: 'The Golden Age of Japanese Okimono, the Dr. Kanter Collection' by Laura Bordignon, ACC Woodbridge 2010, Metalwork no. 241, 258, 260, 262, 264, 266.
Also see: 'Meiji no Takara 明治の宝 Treasures of Imperial Japan, the Nasser D.Khalili Collection', Metalwork Part II, no. 108.
Size without wood base H 16.5cm (6.5")
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