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NEW Vintage & Antique Finds: A Haunting Hawk Okimono

okimono of a hawk

Silvered Okimono of a Hawk. Silver-plated bronze, Japan, Meiji period 19th c. Signature plaque of Seiya on tail feathers. H: 23-3/4". Flying Cranes Gallery; Gallery 55 & 212.223.4600

As it’s the haunting season, in this week’s NEW Vintage & Antique Finds, we feature a beautifully sinister hawk okimono that could give Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre raven a run for its money. This richly sculptured Meiji period okimono (which translates to “objet d’art”) features a predatory hawk chiseled in a naturalistic style with its intense gaze fixed on its unfortunate prey. Part of the realism in the sculpture’s eye can be attributed to use of shakudo, a gold and copper alloy treated to form a “black patina resembling lacquer.” Notice also the gripping, weighted quality of the hawk’s talons–the talons are shibuichi, “an alloy which can be patinated into a range of subtle muted shades of blue or green.” Taken together, the sculptor’s subtle, blended artistry begets a creature that recalls for us the very last lines of Poe’s famed “The Raven” —

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!

okimono of a hawk

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