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As part of our Japanese art collection we are delighted to offer this simply stunning mixed media hardwood wall panel set in its original hardwood frame, the panel depicts a solid silver and mixed metal heron with a fish in his mouth while stood in a Moonlit lakeside setting , the bird wades through the water,  this has been incredibly well detailed in high relief Gold lacquer, depicting a shoal of Fish swimming around the birds feet, the Landscape backdrop includes various ferns on the bank and a large tree overhanging the lake, this foliage is superbly decorated with a mixture of onlaid horn and Abalone shell amidst thickly laid Gold lacquer detail , the evening sky is picked out with a dusting of Gold lacquer, appearing to be clouds  lit up by the solid silver moon .

Although the panel is probably a collaboration between at least two artists the dominant feature is undoubtedly the mixed metal work, the Silver bird is so substantial that it has been bolted to the panel from the rear, the dominant Metal artist in this production was the highly acclaimed UNNO MORITOSHI (1834-1896),  and therefore we must assume it was he who decided that only his seal signature would be placed on this important artwork, it was not uncommon for lesser artists to multi sign items of this nature , clearly Moritoshi wanted to claim the piece as his, and understandably so, this is an absolute masterpiece of Japanese art !!

Lacquer panel with a heron (鷺sagi in Japanese) in metal

The metal work is by Unno Moritoshi 海野盛壽 (海野盛寿)(1834-1896)

Mito School artist, a nephew and pupil of 海野美盛Unno Bisei I (Unno Yoshimori I: 1785-1862). Unno Moritoshi’s son 海野美盛 Unno Bisei II (Unno Yoshimori II: 1864-1919) was also a distinguished metal artist who became professor at the Tokyo University of Fine Art.

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19121/lot/3162/. Sold for 170,000 US$ http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/tsuba-with-design-of-enma-o-demon-and-sinner-9966. http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/tsuba-with-design-of-geese-in-flight-11686. – Dated: 1883 http://art.thewalters.org/browse/creator/unno-moritoshi/.


“A rare silver covered box by one of the Meiji Period’s most formidable and highly-regarded metallurgists. On its mirror-like surface, Daikoku, the god-of-wealth, atop two richly-gilt rice bales, rattles his mallet, an assortment of magical amulets scattered below. The entire visual, modeled in great detail and in high relief glows with extravagant use of gold, silver, shakudo and copper. Incised signature and seal of Unno Moritoshi. Storage box. Width, 3.85″; depth, 3,74″. Meiji Period.

The condition is lovely and original with minor age related wear .

Approximate sizes

Height:  30.25″   77 cm

Width:   26″        66 cm

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