Victorian Japanese Shakudo Brooch Pin

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 Japonism affected everything from performing to decorative arts. Japanese Shakudo dates back to the 12th century. It’s an alloy of copper and gold. Due to the expensive metal content of Shakudo, it was traditionally used for decorating Japanese swords and other small items like boxes or door catches. It was also used for adorning the armor of Samurai warriors. The Samurai were the highest of Japan's social caste until they were abolished in the 1870s. Before that, they were the warriors of nobility, known for their fearlessness, their loyalty, and their amazing fighting skill. Their armor represented spirituality and prestige. This brooch was likely crafted from a piece of Shakudo that once adorned the armor of a Samurai, it was brought back to Europe and set into a silver brooch.

This antique Shakudo brooch was handcrafted around 1880 in England. It features a motif from the acclaimed Japanese woodblock artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi, from his ‘Birds and Beasts’ collection. The design showcases a dragon surrounded in waves, with a tiger. This stunning piece measures 31.5 mm north to south and 66 mm across. It weighs 36.5 grams and has been acid tested.

The symbology of this piece thrives in its mysticism as a lot of Japanese symbolism does. Tigers were a creature seen as the yin to the dragon’s yang. Neither can defeat the other, so they remained balanced.

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Item ID: BHA19796VA

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