metalwork / Meiji

By Suzuki Chōkichi (1848–1919)

Meiji era, 1892


高45.5cm 奥行き49cm


Important Cultural Property

With outstretched wings and a piercing gaze, an eagle crouches on a rock, as if poised to strike at any moment. The sense of realism is also engendered by the meticulous attention to detail. We can almost feel the texture of minutely-rendered feathers and wrinkled legs. The eagle was first shaped roughly from clay, with wax then poured on top and the shape carved out in more detail. The entire sculpture was then covered with clay and heated. The melted wax was subsequently removed and bronze poured into the hollow section. This technique is known as lost-wax casting. Suzuki Chokichi was a leading proponent of this technique during the Meiji era and he was particularly adept at creating ornamentation shaped like hawks, eagles, and other birds. His works were also exhibited to high acclaim at expositions within Japan and overseas. This famed work was submitted to the World's Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893. It is said to have astounded the world by demonstrating the technical advancement of Japan during the Meiji era.

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