Mokame gane sculpture

An antiques friend showed me a beautiful, small sculpture he thought
was bronze. But he pointed out to me the striations in the bottom
where the patina had worn off. The piece is actually mokame gane.
It is of 2 lions fighting (playing) the way cats do…one on bottom,
the other on top. Both with mouths wide open and teeth bared. It
is beautiful and finely wrought. About 4 1/2" long, 2 1/2" high.
There are 3 tiny Japanese (?) marks on bottom.

I have 2 questions: Where would he go to find out what this piece
is and its worth? How can we tell (by water displacement or
whatever) what the statue is made of? Mokame, yes; but it is very

Thanks for your help,
Esta Jo Schifter
Shifting Metal
Phila, PA

Esta Jo,

Since you live in Philadelphia, you have an excellent museum close
by. I would seek out the curator of the either the Asian collection
or decorative arts. If they can’t help you, they would be able to
refer you to somebody who might.

Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio