Our featured item of the month for March, this masterful gilded Bronze Okimono by the Miyao Company


Our featured item of the month for March is this beautiful, gilded Bronze Okimono by the Miyao Company and depicting Fujiwara no Yasumasa playing the flute.



The Miyao Company are one of the best-known and widely celebrated metalwork manufacturers of the Meiji-era (1868 – 1912). They were founded in Yokohama before moving to Tokyo in 1890. The Miyao Company exhibited at many of the Great International Expositions of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century to great acclaim and won numerous awards for their impressive works. Although mostly recognised for their metal-work, they also produced fine Shibayama works of art.



The figure depicted in this particular Okimono is the renowned musician and poet, Fujiwara no Yasumasa.

Legend has it that one evening, he was playing the flute as he made his way home across the desolate Ichiharano Moor. He believed he was all alone, but lurking in the long grass was a bandit, Hakamadare Yasusuke.

The highwayman, also known as Kidomaru was plotting to attack the musician in order to steal his fine Winter robes. However, as he made his approach, the beautiful tones coming from Fujiwara no Yasumasa’s flute entranced Kidomaru and he found himself unable to launch an attack.



Instead, he followed the flutist all the way back to his home. Once Fujiwara no Yasumasa arrived at his home, he noticed Kidomaru and as a gesture of good grace, he gave him some fine clothing so that the would-be robber did not leave empty handed.



The fine quality craftsmanship and attention to detail on this Okimono is typical of the Miyao Company. The elegant robes are adorned with intricate depictions of Red-Crowned Cranes flying amongst clouds and on the reverse there are displays of Paulownia.



This piece is steeped in symbolism. Red Crowned Cranes are a symbol of longevity and good-fortune and Paulownia (known as “Kiri” in Japan) represents the favour of the Gods as well as good luck.



The Bronze stands on a trademark Miyao Company hard wood base, adorned with gold lacquer decoration.



You can see a selection of works by the Miyao Company by clicking here.


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