Featuring a Fighting Bear & Alligator
From our Japanese collection, we are delighted to offer this stunning Japanese Meiji period bronze group. The Japanese group comprises of a Bear being attacked by a large alligator. The alligator jumping on the back of the Bear with mouth wide opening showing its razor sharp teeth. The bear looking back at the Alligator with mouth also wide open snarling at the attacking predator. The group of natural bronze casting with life like features to both the Bears fur and the scales of the Alligator. Signed on the belly of the Bear in a rectangle reserve 芳光作 Yoshimitsu-saku (made by Yoshimitsu). The group dates to the Meiji period (1868-1912) circa 1890. The Japanese group is stood upon a scrollwork foot wooden stand to emphasise the and lift the figure.
Meiji Period is an era of Japanese history that spanned from 1868 to 1912. It was the first half of the Empire of Japan, when the Japanese people began to build a paradigm of a modern, industrialised nation state and emergent great power, influenced by Western countries and aesthetics. As a result of radically different ideas, the changes to Japan were profound and it affected the social structure, politics, economy, military, and foreign relations across the board. The period corresponded to the reign of Emperor Meiji and was preceded by the Keio era and was succeeded by the Taisho era.
Cultural Art during the Meiji Period was of particular interest to the government and they overhauled the art export market which in turn promoted Japanese arts via various world’s fairs, beginning in Vienna at the world fair in 1873. The government heavily funded the fairs and took an active role organising how Japan’s culture was presented to the world including creating a semi-public company named Kiritsu Kosho Kaisha (First Industrial Manufacturing Company). The Kiritsu Kosho Kaisha was used to promote and commercialise exports of Japanese art and established the Hakurankai Jimukyoku (Exhibition Bureau) to maintain quality standards. For the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia, the Japanese government created a Centennial Office and sent a special envoy to secure space for the 30,000 items that would be displayed. The Imperial Household also took an active interest in arts and crafts, commissioning works by select artists to be given as gifts for foreign dignitaries further emphasising the high quality and importance of Japanese art. Just before the end of the 19th century in 1890, the Teishitsu Gigeiin (Artist to the Imperial Household) system was created to recognise distinguished artists. These artists were selected for their exceptionally high quality wares and talent in their own industry. Over a period of 54 years Seventy artists were appointed, amongst these were ceramicist Makuzu Kozan and cloisonné enamel artist Namikawa Yasuyuki.
Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper with approximately 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (including aluminium, manganese, nickel, or zinc) and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus, or metalloids such as arsenic or silicon depending on the age of the bronze and its origin. The additions of other metals produce a range of alloys that are usually harder than copper alone and carry useful properties such as strength. The earliest known use of bronze dates to the 5th millennium BCE from Iranian plateau, the bronze mix consists of arsenical copper and copper-arsenide. The earliest tin-copper-alloy recovered is dated to circa 4650 BCE and was found in Plocnik, Serbia. It is believed to have been smelted from a natural tin-copper ore.
Measurements Figure 13cm High x 25.5cm Wide x 18cm Deep (5.12 x 10 x 7.1 Inches) Stand 3cm High x 32cm Wide x 22.5cm Deep (1.18 x 12.6 x 8.86 Inches)
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