Patinated bronze centipede known as a jizaï . The body is made of several articulated segments. The legs are fixed to the body segments and immovable, but they seem to move as the body as a whole makes undulating movement.
Jizaï okimono are realistic sculptures, usually of animals such as birds, fish, snakes, lobsters, crabes and insects but also on occasion legendary beasts such as dragons and shachi (aquatic creatures similar to fish). They’re typically made from iron, copper, shibuichi (copper and silver alloy) or shakudo (gold and copper alloy). Their bodies and limbs are articulated, and can be moved as if it were a real living being. This type of okimono (decorative objet) were typically not very well known in Japan as they were primarily made for the export market during the Meiji and Shôwa eras (end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century).
Jizai okimono began generating public interest in Japan in October 1983 when several examples were put on display during a special exhibition intitled “The Art of Japanese metal” which took place at the National Museum of Tokyo.
The term “jizaï” (literally translating to “as it choses”) appeared for the first time during this exhibition and was used in front of the titles of some of the objects on display. Most notably Jizaï okimono of the dragon and Jizaï okimono of the hawk.
The first jizaï okimono were creatured during the Edo period but there is no information available relating to what they were known as at the time.
Japan, Taishô period (1912-1926)-beginning of Shôwa (1926-1989)
Length : 6,3 in- Width : 1,4 in