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Meiji Bronze Statue of Oni Samurai?


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Was wondering if I could get opinions on this piece.

 

Perhaps there is a fable/character this possibly portrays?  How does the quality of work appear for those with trained eyes on such things?  Where would a signature usually be on these or does that just depend on artist?   Is wood and bronze integration something traditionally done by Japanese artists or could it be a later addition?  Also wonder if anyone has seen this statue before?

 

Lastly, hate to ask, but what is a potential fair value range for Meiji Bronze such as this (assume it is unsigned)?  Have an ebay offer on this, love it's look but have truly no idea on these bronze markets.

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I think it may be demon related. Really not sure. But it is a quality item. I've been looking at a lot of them lately online, and most look good at first until you look closer. But this one has quality in the details and I don't think this is a cheaper one.
Don't know here it would be signed or if....but it's something I would like to own. Not top level by any means, but not the mass produced junk either. I'm not qualified to give values, but pure guess would be in the late 100's....around $1000 maybe?
Cheap ones seem to be $2-400...

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Stephen, I get it, not for everyone.  For me however depict some historical mythology and I'm all about it.  Hoping I can find out if this does depict some known tale of an oni or possessed samurai perhaps. 

 

Brian, thanks, that helps as I honestly have no comparison for quality and values.  I can see what sellers are asking for things but not what people are actually paying.  I got it for less than $600 so maybe did fine if I ever did need to sell it.  Just didn't want to largely over pay.

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It (the guy) was cast as one piece.

I believe he is a demon possessed man.

Some good work was put into it.

Definitely like Brain said ....not your cheap typical tourist piece and I'm almost willing to bet it's one of a kind.

There may be another figure with similarities but the mount and wood/stone or bone( looks to be petrified wood or a tusk) he is resting on is all custom.

Pretty cool piece.

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8 hours ago, Brian said:

I think this is Oshikuru. The Demon Samurai.
:laughing:
Sorry...just a lame joke. This episode was repeated so many times on SA tv.
 

 

          :laughabove:Are you kidding ...this is one of my FAV episodes 

    That was GOLD Brian lol

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Agree with Malcolm on both posts. Like to see that join closer. Malcolm, do you think it was mounted to something else at some point, or maybe a join repair?
The joking aside, the expression is a Japanese aesthetic, used to convey how fierce they could be. I like it as a whole though. 85% of the stuff you will see on eBay is inferior.

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Brian, ha! I dub this statue Oshikuru or Brian for short.

 

Baka Gaijin (nice name btw)  it does look like those masks and the transformation aspect could match what this statue could be about.  I'll take close up pictures once I have the statue in hand.  That base and that wood piece his foot rests on could have been added later.  

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If you want to get your eye in on what a really good bronze statue looks like, in terms of workmanship, take a look at some Rodin lifetime casts.

 

There are several Kokuho cast bronze sculptures.

 

There are also plenty of exceptional ancient Egyptian examples.

 

There's coffee table books available which show top end European and Egyptian examples, I'm not sure about Japanese.

 

Very different art styles, but broadly the same process (lost wax) and techniques have been used across the world and across time.

 

The best castings involve a high quality casting of an original sculpture, with high grade metal. They also require many hours of highly skilled labor to finish the piece, similar to that required for high grade tosogu.

 

A top end bronze will, in my experience, be in the region of $300k regardless of whether Asian, European or Egyptian.

 

Mass market prices generally mean mass market quality, in terms of the time and care taken and the skill of the artisans working on the piece.

 

There are some old mid grade castings with a lot of meat on the bones. This one looks like an example of that. I wonder what it could become if it was taken to an artisan to have it refined.

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Mark, I love Rodin and visited his museum in Philly.  Have a few Rodin bronzes but nothing of extreme quality.  I would love to have a better eye on casting quality as I can only tell by "sculpt" quality and if I like it or not.  Beyond that I have no real heavy knowledgeable eye for bronzes.  Have a little collection but it's all more consumer end pieces and some smaller independent artist's castings.   The favorite bronze of mine is a "Darwin's Thinker" of an ape holding a skull in thinking pose from the 1920/30's.  

 

Small sample attached.

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@waljamada Nice collection Adam.

 

As it's an analogue process, you obviously lose fidelity as you move away from the original sculpture. As with a VHS tape; a copy of a copy of a copy will retain much less detail and the quality of the casting is very important.

 

I'd surmise the main difference between high-grade and mid-level work as primarily one of when the work is considered finished and differences in the fidelity of the mould.

 

Most bronzes are considered finished after the metal-chasing is complete. Low-level castings often do a poor job of metal-chasing and mid-level do this stage properly.

 

With top-end bronzes the chased casting is more often treated as a roughed-out sculpture, from which the artist (or an artist) carves the final work by hand.

 

In this sense, even when part of a run, each casting of this type is an original work of art. This is codified in under French law, where the first 12 castings are considered original works.

 

Article R. 122-3 of the Code de la Propriété Intellectuelle [Intellectual Property Code] stipulates that editions of sculptures limited to twelve numbered casts, including artist’s copies, are considered to be original works of art.

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I'm not making any comments about the quality of the bronze in the video, but this might illuminate the process somewhat and give an impression of the type and amount of work potentially involved after the piece has been cast:

 

 

The workmanship of a high-grade bronze should be similar in quality to the workmanship you'd expect to find in menuki.

 

But, rather than raised from a flat plate, the overall shape is cast in bronze.

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Mark,
When it comes to Meiji okimono, there is a huge difference in the one-off and low number top class work you are referring to, and the export type pieces we are talking about.
Even among these "tourist" type export pieces, there are huge differences in quality. If we exclude the top works and are only discussing the sub-$1500 works that are more commonly seen, we need to be able to differentiate between the low detail mass produced items and those that were also more mass produced, but have more detail, unique subjects and less interest.
We mostly all know about the common advice to "check the toes" for detail. But there is an element of truth to that. I don't have time now, but am sure it would be easy to pull up details of the entry level works vs those slightly better. This isn't by any means a top quality work, but it isn't one of the $200 "tiger attacking an X" pieces we see so often.
 

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I dont know much about these but judging from what ive looked at over the years i would expect folk to ask between $400 to $650 for it.

 

Its ok, but when i see these statues where the sword is out and with this kind of pose it kind of puts me off and reminds me of later stuff.

 

Seen similar in the past and when you scour the internet you find identical pieces at varying prices, sometimes low, sometimes high.

 

Be better if was signed but then again the price would likely be sky high.

 

Base looks cheap (which might suggest ?), would replace it with a nice granite piece if i owned it, find them for sale quite cheap.

 

Wish i was educated on these lol, as always wanted a nice example.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Brian,

 

I'm sorry if what I wrote seemed completely off topic, I didn't realise quite how it read but did intend for it to be applicable.

 

I do see a clear difference in quality between the statue in the first post and one further down in Alex's collection. The difference is in the chasing, so may not be immediately apparent for someone who doesn't know quite what they're looking for.

 

I think the mould fidelity is similar, but the chasing isn't as well executed.

 

Neither is hand carved, but the statue at the top appears to be better chased and filled than some other Japanese bronzes I've seen for sale.

 

I've circled the relevant area to show the detail:

 

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This kind of thing requires labor to fix, after the statue has been cast, and can add significant cost.

 

I'm not sure if this adds any value to the discussion, but I think I've at least clarified what I intended to say.

 

Toes are always a good sign, a lack of pock-marks is also worth a premium, just as when selecting a wife.

 

Additionally, a thick, heavy and dark patina can hide flaws (at least from the camera).

 

To link back to the above video, you can usually tell at a glance the nature of the techniques used and thereby roughly estimate the man hours involved.

 

I thought it worthwhile to lay out the process as it provides some anchors from which we can discuss further.

 

Everything is somewhere along the scale between the two extremes, it's just a case of assessing how far along.

 

At the low end, a mass market bronze from a Chinese foundry. These cost less than $10 to produce. The detail is quite good overall, especially considering the price, but the skin has severe acne scarring and dermatitis.

 

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Adam's would be in the region of $500 - $1k.

 

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Moving up into the range of $5k - $10k brings statues with significant hand finishing.

 

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Moving up into the $20k - $30k range brings finely chased details and gilt engraving.

 

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Maybe this visual representation is of some use.

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Mark, thanks for the examples.  I now want that second 5 to 10k range bronze.  It looks buttery smooth.  Found what I think is a higher end oni bronze okimono from a bonhams auction I will post below and I can tell the difference.  That statue I've lovingly dubbed Turd Wizard was a bronze from a small artist in the 80s and from a run of 500.  Makes me think some smaller independent artists don't have the time/work force to finely finish/chase their runs.  I also now realize why certain bronzes can command such large values with the work involved and what aspects to look for in high quality bronzes.  Thank you

 

Alex, yeah wish I knew more as well as I also would love a high end bronze example.  Sellers ask such high prices in most cases too which makes it hard to discern true accurate values and most works appear to be in the lower to mid range at best in the 4k and under range.  I will look into replacing the base depending on how it's attached.  The description from the seller did say the wood base was added later.  

 

Brian, when I get the statue I will inspect the toes and see how they did!

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Hopefully just a bolt in the bottom and not glued.

 

I got one,  black marble (not granite) base from a trophy shop lol, they made me one to suit, long time ago but was only £15.

 

Will look so much better without the wood,

 

 

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1 hour ago, waljamada said:

Mark, thanks for the examples.  I now want that second 5 to 10k range bronze.  It looks buttery smooth.  Found what I think is a higher end oni bronze okimono from a bonhams auction I will post below and I can tell the difference.  That statue I've lovingly dubbed Turd Wizard was a bronze from a small artist in the 70s and from a run of 50.  Makes me think some smaller independent artists don't have the time/work force to finely finish/chase their runs.  I also now realize why certain bronzes can command such large values with the work involved and what aspects to look for in high quality bronzes.  Thank you

 

Alex, yeah wish I knew more as well as I also would love a high end bronze example.  Sellers ask such high prices in most cases too which makes it hard to discern true accurate values and most works appear to be in the lower to mid range at best in the 4k and under range.  I will look into replacing the base depending on how it's attached.  The description from the seller did say the wood base was added later.  

 

Brian, when I get the statue I will inspect the toes and see how they did!

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I'm guessing the example above sold or is estimated at around $30k.

 

Regarding the statue in the $5k-$10k range; I think this tier represents excellent value. Once you've bought a few of the tourist grade items, you've likely spent a similar amount. I'd assume that your spending on bronzes so far would have bought you one of these if consolidated on a single item.

 

Hopefully the post above gives a very rough idea on what can be had for a given price.

 

If things are being offered at a price far above the stated price brackets, I'd be inclined to avoid them unless there's a good reason for the high price.

 

2x is acceptable if you like the piece, 10x is excessive unless the piece is important in some way.

 

I'm not an expert in any way and these are only my personal opinions.

 

Full disclosure; I don't currently own any Japanese bronzes. I've seen a few quite nice ones in person at auctions, but I've never been the winning bidder and as such I don't have any on hand.

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6 hours ago, waljamada said:

Mark, almost right on the money.  Looked it up and that oni bronze from bonhams sold for $35k after fees.  

 

Thank you for checking Adam.

 

$35k including Bonhams buyer's premium, by my mental arithmetic, would put the hammer price at a hair under $28k.

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Interestingly, a bronze Daruma with a dark patina which looks superficially similar to the one shown above is currently on sale on Catawiki with an estimate of 800-1000 EUR (link here) :

 

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The close-up pictures, however, show quite a few casting bubbles, and some of the "dermatitis" mentioned by Mark...


 

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1 hour ago, PietroParis said:

Interestingly, a bronze Daruma with a dark patina which looks superficially similar to the one shown above is currently on sale on Catawiki with an estimate of 800-1000 EUR (link here) :

 

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The close-up pictures, however, show quite a few casting bubbles, and some of the "dermatitis" mentioned by Mark...

 

 

Good find Pietro.

 

I get the impression that it's been heavily buffed before patination.

 

I fully agree with your assessment, and thank you for adding it here as it can teach us quite a bit.

 

It does superficially appear quite good, and I think there's some hand carving on the face and to create the chest hair, but I think otherwise it's lustre is only skin deep and it would look a lot worse in person.

 

The dark patina can hide a lot of flaws from the camera.

 

I think it's estimate is on the money.

 

It shows it's flaws more clearly in this image, which leads me to think that the figure was buffed and this area wasn't reached due to being sharply recessed.

 

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Yip...as I expected. Nice piece. Not a cheap and nasty. Lots of hand finishing. I still put it in the mid level, well worth the price you paid. Certainly not top level as clearly shown in this thread, but a step above the quick castings with little finishing.

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