JAPAN, circa 1880
An okimono constructed of bronze sheets hammered and carved to resemble the animal’s shell. With a reddish brown patina.
Okimonos: Okimonos were originally made as ornaments for the tokonoma (an alcove) or the butsudan (a Buddhist altar). A tokonoma is part of a traditional Japanese room, in which items for artistic appreciation such as scrolls and bonsai, as well as okimono were displayed. In Japanese, ‘okimono’ means a free-standing object, including art objects, dolls, and souvenirs. Okimonos were originally made from wood or bronze, but were also made from other materials, including ivory. In Japan, okimonos were mostly regarded as a luxury item and subjects included animals, and mythological figures and creatures.
‘Jizai Okimono’ are realistically shaped animals made from metal. Their bodies and limbs are articulated, and can be moved like real animals. Among these ornamental figures, models of birds, fishes, snakes, lobsters, crabs, insects, and dragons, are common.
The Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) is a crustacean related to crabs, shrimp, crayfish, and the Spanish lobster. Common names include crawfish and Florida lobster. The spiny lobster has numerous spines on the body; two large, hooked horns over the eyes; a pair of long, jointed antennae; and five pairs of walking legs. The tail is segmented and can be rapidly curled under the body to propel the lobster backward.