Shakudo kozuka bearing a nanako ground and inlaid with a standing crane in silver takazogan with gold and shakudo details. Mumei. Edo period (18th Century). Goto School.

The crane, or tsuru, features heavily in Japanese art, literature and folklore. It is a symbol of good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. It also represents fidelity, as Japanese cranes are known to mate for life. Over time, the crane has also evolved as a favorite subject of the Japanese tradition of origami (paper folding), as children and adults attempt to master this art.

This particular example is reminiscent of artist Ogata Korin’s (1658-1716) crane paintings.  Korin, whose brother was the ceramic artist Ogata Kenzan (1663–1743), was the artist whose name was later adapted to designate the Rimpa School. A native of Kyoto, Korin returned there in the final years of his life after spending several years in Edo (modern Tokyo) seeking new patrons.




Length 9.7cm
Width 1.45cm


Edward (Ted) Wrangham OBE collection, UK
Clement Milward collection, UK

Bonhams (London) Sale, 15 May 2012, “The Edward Wrangham Collection of Japanese Art: Part III”, lot no. 6



Painting of a Crane by Ogata Korin (1658-1716)