A Japanese Meiji Period (1868-1912) iron koro with fine damascene foliage decoration surrounding two bronze panels with bronze, silver, shakudo and shibuichi decoration of an egret and a kingfisher. A lifelike silver mouse forms the knop of the lid.
Signed Onesuka Isshu
The heron often stands still for long periods of time stalking prey, because of this they represent patience in Japanese culture, and are associated with the harsh cold of winter.
The kingfisher is a common bird in Japan, it is the symbol of many towns and cities in wetland areas.
White mice are thought to be lucky in Japan, they are the symbol of Daikoku one of the seven lucky gods.
Shakudo is an alloy of gold and copper which can be treated to develop a black patina.
Shibuichi is an alloy of silver and copper which can be treated to develop a grey patina.
Damascening is the art of inlaying different metals into one another, typically gold or silver into a darker oxidised background. The name comes from the resemblance to damask silk embroideries.