Caroline's Jewelry with a Past is offering an artisanal sterling silver brooch with a center antique menuki from a wakizashi or small sword featured from the Samurai era of Japan. The center piece is a mixed metal, finely detailed Japanese lion dog. Menuki are the decorative metal ornaments that are woven under the handle wrappings of a Japanese small sword. The menuki has been placed in a black enameled oval with a rimmed frame to enhance the shape and coloring of the menuki. The brooch is 1-3/8" wide (east to west) X 15/16" (north to south) and weighs 12.8 grams. There is a safety clasp style closure.
The menuki ornaments were originally made to hide the pins that secure the hilt or handle to the tang of the blade of the sword. Menuki are normally positioned to guide the hand positions and fit into the palm of the hand. Some menuki are very elaborate pieces created by talented silversmiths and artisans that will enhance or become the "theme" of the wakizashi sword. Most sword fittings will convey through design certain ideas, meanings or tales of Japanese society. The lion dog or "foo dog" was adopted by the Japanese from the Chinese culture, although, the history of the lion dog is unclear. It is believed that they are based on real life lions, introduced to China during the Han Dynasty, 221 BC – 206BC. Lion dogs are seen as talismans with the power to fend off demons or evil. They are often present at the entrances of houses or temples. The lion dog is represented throughout Asia and the Middle East in many forms and styles.
The mixed metals of the menuki are silver, silver plate and 90% copper + 10% gold. This is a handmade piece featuring an antique menuki. It is made by a craftsman and can have features which are only found in this piece. It is unique and represents the artist's vision. The jewelry may exhibit the marks of the craftsman. It will not be perfect.