Antique Japanese shakudo bracelet from about 1890


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A Japanese shakudo bracelet from the late 19th century.

After Japan was forced to trade with the west from the 1850s, its influence on the arts and jewellery was profound (even though jewellery was not worn by Japanese women at this time).

Shakudo is both the name of a type of Japanese metalwork and a particular, almost black alloy used in this kind of work, and visible here as the background for the plaques.

The main elements were made in Japan and the mounts were added in the west. So, as here, the surrounds are usually not the quality of the central motifs.

The real craft lies in the amazing, subtle mixed-metal work of former samurai sword makers who were forced to make export wares to survive in post-feudal Japan. They used alloys we never had in the west.

Each one of the medallions shows a scene from the natural world. All are different – a sign of a better quality piece.

The applied elements are thick, and the gold and silver unworn and bright. The patination is untouched.

A beautiful and wearable example of this exquisite art.


• Handmade in mixed metal, including gold, silver and shakudo alloy
• Approximately 19cm (7 1/2 inches) long, 3.1cm (1.2 inches) wide
• Weight is 54 grams
• In excellent antique condition

I’d be very happy to send more information and images. Layaway available.

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