THE LAST TOKUGAWA
From a distance one could still hear the thundering hoofbeats of
Tokugawa, the last of Japan’s Shoguns, as he rode into the
sunset instilling fear by his presence. Mighty warrior and feudal
lord… he ruled Japan for over 700 years. But now his era had
come to an end. The noble Samurai had lain down his sword. The
time of Meiji had arrived.
Meiji…emperor of Japan in 1852…began his reign with the
transfer of rule from the Tokugawa. The age of feudal barons was
over. The age of culture which would ultimately lead Japan into
becoming one of the world’s great powers, had begun. And along
with this beginning began the creation of some of Japan’s
magnificent works of art.
Artists to the Imperial Household developed techniques that have
yet to be equaled. They produced the Treasures of Imperial
Japan. They worked in silver and gold, and bronze and gilt. They
worked with filagree and wire and cloisonn=E9 enamel. They worked
with lacquer and paints. They worked with wood. They worked with
gemstones such as agate and coral and malachite and tiger’s eye
I digress for in an instant. I find things at times that are not
quite jewelry. Can’t present this, I think. I have a
self-imposed rule…if it’s not directly or tangentially
associated with my trade… it’s hands off. However…I sometimes
find a word…like gold…or silver…or coral…or malachite.
They’re talking about my industry I yell to the heavens…or to
my wife…or to whoever will listen. And so I take Jeweler’s
License…and I use it. In this case, this is the case.
What I have available from the era of Meiji is, for the most
part, statues and sculptures and vases and things. I have a
miniature pagoda shrine created with iron and gold. As far as I’m
concerned… it’s part of the jewelry industry. I have a filagree
vase made of silver and gold. Same deal. I have a silver
elephant incense burner inlaid with semi-precious stones as
listed above. Ditto.
But my heart my friends…my heart belongs to the super-heroes.
I don’t care if it’s Superman, or Tarzan, or the Saint, or
Hercules, or a Samurai Warrior standing over six feet tall, in
full armor with intricate gilded details. These are the guys I
like, and for now…it’s the Samurai I like best. He is
outstanding folks. You want to see the quintessential
warrior?..this is the guy to see. Imagine him strutting down
your street in full regalia…and tell me you ain’t quivering a
tad. Our Samurai is a product of the Meiji era.
You want to see him folks? Go to my home page…scroll down the
table menu till you get to Tidbit Graphics. Click on Tokugawa.
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
All issues of Tidbits are copyrighted and available from our home page.
All rights reserved.