Shakudo is an alloy of copper and gold, developed in Japan. It is crafted from a mix of metals that are often in colors of copper, silver and dark gray. The West wasn’t introduced to Shakudo until the mid-1800’s, although Japanese Shakudo pieces have been dated to as far back as the 12th century. Shakudo was an art form which was traditionally used for decorating Japanese swords and Samurai armor as well as other small items like boxes or door catches.
This antique brooch is made from a piece of Shakudo which was probably brought back from a Grand Tour. Brought back to England, this little treasure was then handcrafted into a silver-backed pin, likely around 1890. It features a hooded, ear-ringed man balancing a jug on the tip of his finger tip. This piece measures 42 x 24 mm. This brooch comes in its own fitted box which says, “WATCH MAKER JEWELLRY” “W. KIBBLE” “LUDGATE HILL”.
For centuries, Japan was an isolated nation and in 1868 their trade doors opened, allowing the world to glimpse inside a beautiful and unique culture. The West found its muse and Japanese designs affected everything from performing to decorative arts.
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