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S. only. I want to send you pictures of the stuff I got that…

This is for Robert S...
This is for Robert S. only. I want to send you pictures of the stuff I got that you did first bit of work on. Where do I send them? Thanks Sue
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Answered in 1 hour by:
3/12/2018
Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 6,543
Experience: Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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Hi Sue,

You can attach them here if you wish.

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One photo came through perfectly, thanks! It should let you attach as many images as possible.

Hopefully now I've responded it will let you add more.

Or, you may find it easier to upload them to a free public picture hosting site and give me the link to them. The one I prefer is www.imgur.com

Just two clicks and a copy and paste and you are done

Go to http://www.imgur.com/
(no need to 'sign in' or 'sign up' it makes it too complicated)
Click on "New Post"
Click on "Browse"
Select the pictures you want to send me from the box that pops up.
Hit "open".
Click on "Copy"
and paste it here where you are typing to me.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The wierd item has a drum and sickle and fan on it. I cleaned it and seems silver like other two. Couldn’t find marks. Seems like maybe make mini altar version. Matches the female altar.
0EF59484-60E5-43A6-A5AF...jpeg0EF594...jpeg33E35ADF-CDDB-423D-80F9...jpeg33E35A...jpeg636D35F6-B341-4E1A-8640...jpeg636D35...jpegE905547F-A96A-42EB-982E...jpegE90554...jpeg65595079-D09C-4F4A-AEC8...jpeg655950...jpeg41AAAE16-D0AD-462F-9A41...jpeg41AAAE...jpeg

Fascinating! They're smaller than they looked in the listing.

Leave this with me and I'll see what I can deduce from the marks, now I can see them better.

Can you add one more of the underside of the one with the drum.

Many thanks,
Robert.

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Now I can see these properly and study the marks and details, these turn out to be just as special as I first thought, or even more so. All three of them, or at least those two with the embossed gold flower (a chrysanthemum), are examples of what's known as Imperial Gift Boxes (or Bonbonnieres) 皇室のボンボ二エール given out by the Emperor to individual guests and VIPs at royal banquets, coronations, enthronements, etc. "Trinkets for the loyal subjects". The embossed gold plated flower is the Meiji chrysanthemum, the famous kikumon emblem of the Chrysanthemum Throne (1868 - 1912). The boxes were originally filled with hard candy.

(1) The twin phoenix drum

The mark on the little shrine reads:

純銀服部製

Jungin Hattori-sei

"Pure Silver. Hattori made"

This is one of the top Tokyo silver retailers and exporters of the Meiji era.

Hattori, Kintaro 服部金太郎 (1860 - 1934) founded a company in Sumida City, on the outskirts of Tokyo, that was primarily a watch & clockmaker, but he also acted as the marketing and export manager for numerous artisanal silversmiths and mixed metal artists and jewelry makers.

In 1924 Kintaro Hattori changed the brand name of his clocks and watches to SEIKO and the rest is history.

Meanwhile, I've managed to track down the original from which this is a miniature copy.

It's an exact replica of a massive ceremonial drum used in an annual ceremony at the Shitennoji temple in Osaka. Here's what the real one looks like. The image on the left shows the side that represents the emperor/male, the image on the right (yours) is the empress/female. It's actually one single drum with the symbolism on the encircling frame placed on opposite sides.

Every year on April 22nd, a special ceremony is held at the temple to memorialize its founding patron, Prince Shotoku -a kind of "St Patrick" of Japan who brought Buddhism to the people, a half real historical figure, half legend who lived 574-622 CE.

The ceremony features performances of bugaku, a type of courtly dance originally performed by the aristocracy of the day while the massive drum slowly beats the rhythm.

This particular Imperial gift box is so elaborate it must have had a particularly valued recipient. All the really good ones were marked for top silversmith Hattori and made by their stable of silversmiths. Somewhere hidden in the decoration you may find the signature of the individual artist who made it.

Even though a lot smaller than I suspected it was from the listing, this extra provenance means I definitely stick by my valuation, it's a one-of-a-kind.

(2) The fan shaped box.

I see now this is not perforated, just some deep bright-cut engraving, and that this is also an example of an Imperial gift box. This one is marked:

新城製 純銀

Shinshiro-sei jungin

"Shinjo made sterling silver"

There's not much information on Shinjo, other than they made these slightly more elaborate Emperor's gift boxes.

Inokichi Shinjo of Tokyo is registered as having exhibited silver work at The Universal Exposition (World's Fair) in St. Louis, U.S.A, in 1904, which I would say was pretty darned enterprising. I don't suppose there were many American silversmiths trying to sell their wares in Tokyo at the time, speaking nothing but Japanese. You have to hand it to the Japanese, they are consummate traders and business people as well as extraordinary craftsmen.

Again, I would stand by my original valuation on this one too.

(3) Drum and war hammer, closed fan.

The item that looks like a sickle is the business end of an old Edo war hammer or pick, known as a nanban or hachi-wari. The other item is a closed fan and there's that drum again, or a similar one, but I've not been able to track down any information on its origins. The base is another fan and embellished with bamboo leaves. However, I don't see a box with this one, unless the top of the drum lifts off as a lid?

Without a mark it's impossible to say much more about it other than it's a beautiful little miniature sculpture, an okimono in silver, if you will.

What great treasures! Well done!

Robert.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
the last one with drum and hammer is worth at least $200.? That is what I paid. Plus no silver mark on it. I think you are right and probably top part of a box. I am going to Japan next week. Should I take it and see what is said? Sue

The last one, (3) is certainly sterling silver and a work of art, but without any way of attributing it to a maker, and with the possibility of it being part of something else, it's worth more than the $200 you paid for it, for sure, but probably less than the $750 - $1250 I estimated it at to begin with.

$600 - $1000 would be a fairer value. Considering it was in the collection of Emperor's gift boxes and there were a number of other Emperors gift boxes that the seller listed, it's not a stretch to assume there's an imperial connection with this one too so, yes, I would definitely take it with you to Japan and have it looked at. What fun! Let me know what response you get, if any.

Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 6,543
Experience: Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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