A Mixed Metal Ojime Bead Necklace

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    • 23 bronze, iron, copper, gold and silver beads
      Approximately 23.00 inches

  • Catalogue Essay

    During the Edo period (1615 - 1868), the ruling Tokugawa government of Japan banned ostentatious displays of wealth in public. For example, only upper class samurai warriors were permitted to wear double swords. One personal item that circumvented these limitations was ensembles of “hanging objects” (sagemone). Fastened with a cord and hung from one’s belt, the utilitarian fashion accessories ranged from toggles (netsuke), tiered containers (inrô) for medicines and seals, and bead fasteners (ojime), to coin purses (kinchaku). All were visual markers of wealth and status. Elaborately realized by hand, great labor and expense were invested into the construction of these small works of art.

    The sagemone were made of the most coveted materials: mother-of-pearl, coral, precious stones, tortoiseshell, gold dusted laquer, gold, and ivory to name a few. Many of the most accomplished craftsman of the day created these works that feature an extensive range of subject matter such as romantic, religious, poetic and political themes that reference both the supernatural and natural world.

    The ojime beads in the necklace illustrated here dates back to the Meiji period in the second half of the 19th century. Though ojime were not historically worn together on a strand, we are thrilled with the remarkable collection of hand carved beads and the way that they compliment each other in this thoughtfully made necklace. This piece is comprised of a variety of metals, but what makes the piece so desirable are the two highly-coveted gold ojime beads. One gold cylindrical bead depicts a “rakan” or holy man, while the other gold bean-shaped ojime opens to reveal a clandestine hand carved erotic scene, making this bead the most unusual ojime on the strand.

    Please see essay in Lot #15.


Property Formerly Owned by Edith Weber

A Mixed Metal Ojime Bead Necklace

$8,000 - 12,000 

sold for $10,625

Contact Specialist
Susan Abeles
Head of Department, Americas and Senior International Specialist
New York
+1 212 940 1383


New York Auction 6 December 2018