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Bronze dog okimono by Sotaro Saegusa

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Japanese Metal Work195 of 200Japanese fish okimono by Kei WatanabeJapanese fish okimono by Kei Watanabe
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    Posted 2 years ago

    (926 items)

    This bronze okimono of a dog is about 4.75" (12 cm) long x 4.75" (12 cm) high x a bit less than 2" (4.8 cm) wide, weighs about 1 lb 14 ounces (847 grams) and has the artist's stamp on it. It came with a small wooden marker simulating the lid of a tomobako but was packaged in a cardboard box specific to the artist's work. A large, oval plastic plinth for display was also included.

    I have started adding some Japanese metal work to my collection and I am particularly attracted to okimono, small decorative pieces. This artist died in 2006 but was apparently fairly prolific and I found this little dog on an online auction site from a seller in Japan for a very small reserve so bid just a little more and was surprised to win it. The finish is a bit marred in a couple of places which may explain my success. Pieces by this artist typically sell for a bit more. Saegusa made several versions of this dog and named them all, but I do not know what this one was called. There is quite a bit of information about Sotaro Saegusa on the InterWebs, so I merged some of that into a biography for this post.

    About the artist:

    Sotaro Saegusa was born in 1911 in Aji-cho, Kida-gun, Kagawa Prefecture of Japan. He graduated from the Metallic Engineering Department of Kagawa Prefectural Technical School in 1930 and the Sculpting School of Tokyo School of Fine Arts. Saegusa initially specialized in oil painting and large scale public sculpture. He later worked as a professor at the Nagoya University of Arts until retiring in 1986. Saegusa was a member of the Japan Artists' Association, Japan Sculptors' Association and Shin Kozo Exhibition Paintings Division.

    Saegusa won a number of prestigious awards during his career. In 1941, his works were selected for the 8th Shin Kozo Exhibition Western Painting Division and the 15th Imperial Exhibition Sculpture Division and he was invited to take part in the exhibition every year he was active. He was presented the Chunichi Award in the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition at Nagoya in 1958, an award in the Nagoya Japanese Art Exhibition in 1987, the Tokyo Governor's Award in the 65th Shin Kozo Exhibition Sculpture Division for his work "Iku" in 1993, and the Minister of Education Encouragement Award, 71st Shin Kozo Exhibition Sculpture Division for Still Life in 1999. His works are included in the collections of a number of arts museums and displayed in public parks and square in many cities in Japan.

    Saegusa continued to work as an artist after his retirement and was still active as an artist into his 90s. After he retired, Saegusa focused on sculptures of animals in bronze and iron and also made incense burners and vases.

    Sotaro Saegusa died in 2006.

    He is described by some as Takaoka doki artist:

    "Takaoka copperware (called Takaoka doki in Japanese) is a type of copperware produced in the area around the city of Takaoka in Toyama prefecture. The various products range from small items such as indoor ornaments, Buddhist tools, and vases to larger items such as temple bells, Buddhist statues, and copper statues.

    Takaoka copperware is said to be top class among Japan's copperware production. Most of the anime character statues installed in urban revitalization projects across the country are made with Takaoka copperware. Therefore there are many people in Japan who have unknowingly seen Takaoka copperware. There is also a lively export market and Takaoka copperware is highly regarded in the many countries to which its products are exported.

    The notable features of Takaoka copperware are the skillful hands-on casting techniques of the artisans and the polishing, metal carving and inlaying production techniques. These techniques have been combined and developed to create a wealth of styles. People are fascinated when they see the strength, delicacy, and flexibility of Takaoka copperware, which are made so that it takes on a deeper expression over time and can be enjoyed as it changes throughout the years."

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    1. Newfld Newfld, 2 years ago
      Fabulous bronze dog (akita maybe?) with nice green patina, cool find & great history Kevin
    2. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment Jenni! I think you are probably right that the dog is an Akita. Many positive attributes of the Akita are treasured by the Japanese.

      Thanks for loving my Akita okimono Kevin, Hoot60, dav2no1 and Jenni!
    3. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thank you aura!
    4. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for taking a look at my bronze dog fortapache!
    5. mcheconi mcheconi, 2 years ago
      Lovely. Well done.
    6. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment, mcheconi! I appreciate it!

      Thanks for loving my bronze Akita mcheconi, PhilDMorris, Bruce99, AnythingObscure, Thomas, Cokeman1959 and getthatmonkeyoutofme!
    7. Manikin Manikin, 2 years ago
      He is wonderful ! I love the shape of body :-)
    8. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment Manikin! He is pretty dapper!

      Thanks for loving my pooch Vynil33rpm and Manikin!
    9. LaurenRedmond LaurenRedmond, 2 years ago
      He has to be an Akito- and a fabulous sculpt of one too- he looks so sleek and noble I can picture him being some samurai's noble companion!
    10. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments Eileen. I am a fan of how the Japanese portray animals, too!

      Thanks for your comment LaurenRedmond! Nice imagery! This artist was very talented.

      Thanks for loving my dawg LaurenRedmond, Eileen and ho2cultcha!
    11. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for loving my bronze AdeleC and MALKEY!
    12. Mrstyndall Mrstyndall, 2 years ago
      Very nice!
    13. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks very much Mrstyndall!
    14. racer4four racer4four, 2 years ago
      As soon as I saw this I knew it was Saegusa! This dog is fabulous.
      I have two Saegusa horses with the same sort of pared back design, his almost post modern design style.
      I think this dog is better and you are lucky to see it daily Kevin. Great find!
    15. rhineisfine rhineisfine, 2 years ago
      Lovely piece!

      There's a good chance this okimono would have been made especially for the Year of the Dog. Many "zodiacal" okimono are displayed during the year, then carefully put away until 12 years later when the next Year of the Dog (in this case) comes around.

      Of course, you can simply display it at any time simply because you like it (or dogs). I've always thought rabbits are especially versatile because not only can they be used for the Year of the Rabbit, they are also associated with Tsukimi (the moon-viewing festival) and of course in the west you can display them as an Easter decoration also :)
    16. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks Karen! I do spend a lot of time slobbering on this one.....

      Thanks for your comment and for the information rhineisfine! I like dogs but have never had one, though I have had many cats. I wonder if Saegusa ever made cat okimono? My family had several dogs when I was growing up and I have fond memories of all of them and carry dog biscuits when I take walks in case I encounter dogs. I live vicariously through other people's dogs. I am an atheist so have never celebrated Easter but would certainly display one of Saegusa's rabbits if I ever was lucky enough to get one! I like them very much.
    17. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thank you Blammoammo!
    18. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thank you Kevin!
    19. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for taking a look at my bronze dog MarmorealMaiden!
    20. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for loving my Japanese Akita okimono blunderbuss2!
    21. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thank you SEAN68!
    22. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for checking out my bronze dog orlybee!
    23. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for loving my Saegusa dawg Eileen!

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