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Japanese silvered bronze Tanuki in the guise of a Buddhist priest wrapped in a cloak and leaning over a mokugyo, a percussion instrument used in temples to keep time for chanting, signed in a rectangular plaque Dai Nihon Gyoko saku 大日本暁光作 (made by Gyoko, Great Japan), 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.
The artist Akasofu Gyoko 赤祖父暁光 (given name Sotojiro) lived in Tokyo producing from his workshop cast metalwork sculptures and was a member of the Tokyo Cast Metalworkers' Association (Tokyo Chokinkay) active in the second half of the Meiji era.
Dimensions of black lacquer base: H 4.5cm (1.77" in.) x W 48cm (18.89" in.) x D 34cm (13.38" in.)