Animal Form Bowl
Datelate 19th century
DimensionsWork : 9 1/4 x 18 x 18 in. (23.5 x 45.72 x 45.72 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelCopper ranked high among Japan’s most valuable economic commodities during the Meiji period. With help from Western-trained geologists and engineers, copper mining expanded rapidly in Japan during the late 19th century and the new mines produced great quantities of copper, both for domestic use and for export. The abundance of copper helps explain the proliferation of bronze in Meiji Japanese art. Bronze is an alloy of copper, tin and trace amounts of other metals. Japanese craftsmen had used bronze for centuries to make both functional and decorative objects, but the quantity and complexity of Japanese bronze work increased exponentially during the Meiji period. This large bowl decorated with African animals was made for export to the United States or Europe where it likely functioned as a table centerpiece or a container for potted plants.