This is a large 1 & 5/8 by 1/4 inches very fine late 19th c. Japanese enamel in tested sterling silver. It is solid and weighty.
I love, collect, and sell enamel items. This piece with its shimmery foil enamel egrets is one of my all-time favorites. First, despite its vintage, it is a surprising modern cloisonne technique. The cloisons are intentionally thick, jagged-looking, and black, making the subject impressionist compared with typical fine Japanese cloisonne, with cloison walls like baby hair. This and black patination of the silver style makes the foil enamel pop. (It is contemporary with the French Impressionist Movement.)
Second, the birds... pure whimsy. The artist incorporated humor. While two converse about small fishes, one takes time to stop and smell the lotus. There has to be something Zen in that.
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