The period from 1868 to 1912 in Japan is known as the Meiji era, the name chosen by the young prince Mutsuhito when he followed his father to the throne.
Meiji in Japanese means ‘the enlightened rule’. During the Meiji period, Japan underwent a dramatic transformation from a medieval society to a leading economic and political power in Asia. It was a time when the arts flourished and were appreciated by an astute clientele.
During the Meiji era art objects were finely crafted out of a variety of materials, including iron, bronze, silver, brass, and specially developed alloys of sentoku (copper and tin), shuibuichi (silver and copper), and shakudo (gold and copper), as well as out of ivory.