Japanese silver minogame with details finely cast, signed with chiselled characters Ryūki 龍起, Meiji period 1868-1912.
The minogame 蓑亀 (美濃亀) is a mythical turtle that can live many thousand years with a long feathery tail made of seaweed, and is a symbol of longevity and happiness.
The artist Nogami Ryūki 野上龍起 (1865-1932) was a graduate from the Tokyo School of Fine Art and exhibited several bronze works of turtles at the 1900 Paris Great Exhibition.
He studied bronze casting under one of the most notable metal craftsmen of the Meiji era, Oshima Joun 大島如雲 (1858-1940), who was professor at the Tokyo School of Fine Art.
He worked for the Imperial Household Agency and was mentioned in a 1910 article on metalwork, entitled Japanese Art and Artists of Today.
The bronze statue of Kusunoki Masashige near the Imperial Palace and the bronze statue of Saigo Takamori at Ueno Park, both in Tokyo, were also made by Nogami Ryūki.
Reference: 'The Golden Age of Japanese Okimono, the Dr. Kanter Collection' by Laura Bordignon, ACC Woodbridge 2010, Metalwork no. 242.
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