Meiji Period Japanese Shakudo 14 ct Gold Mixed Metal Floral Bird Men's Cufflinks. Designed with finely engraved birds in their natural habitat they are fashioned in different colours of gold, silver and copper. Each measures 22.3 mm by 9.9 mm and is set in 14ct gold. The chains are unworn / unused and the finely made bar ends are designed to roll in their holdings! The backgrounds to the highly raised birds and flowers (see photos) is stippled shakud (gold alloy).Both casings are marked with SM to verso. Total weight 10.5 grams.
The quality of this work indicates that it is likely from the Edo district (previously the de facto capital of Japan and later renamed Tokyo at the start of the Meiji period in 1868) where a group of famous craftsmen had started working. Following the Edo period and the demise of the samurai, many highly skilled craftsmen found themselves without gainful employment. In order to continue working they set about fashioning new and desirable goods for a Western market using both their enormous technical skill and their aesthetic talent. Likely made for special order, this type of product was in great demand by connoisseurs in the West. Shakud is an alloy of copper and gold that is treated to develop a black or sometimes indigo patina.
The Japanese characters in the name shaku-d. The process of making shakud entails the heating of copper, fine gold and shirome. Unpatinated shakud resembles bronze and the blackening effect is created later by pickling in a solution that often includes rokush.
The item "Fine Antique Meiji Japanese Shakudo Gold Cufflinks BIRDS 1900-1910" is in sale since Sunday, May 24, 2020. This item is in the category "Jewellery & Watches\Vintage & Antique Jewellery\Vintage Fine Jewellery\Art Nouveau (1895-1910)". The seller is "libellule-antiques" and is located in Nr London. This item can be shipped worldwide.