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silla was born out of a passion for beautiful objects: special pieces with aesthetic and historical significance. In 2009, after years of collecting, Andrew Silla and his wife Grace began to work privately with clients from their residence in Southern Maryland. Quickly outgrowing the space, the business was moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 2012 and after several warehouse location changes it was firmly settled in the present brick-and-mortar location in downtown Shippensburg.

The 9000 square foot brick-and-mortar gallery is home to a large collection of works of art and estate jewelry. We specialize in sculpture circa 1860 through 1930 with a particular emphasis on the Animaliers and as such the gallery always has a very large collection of exceptional European and American sculpture available on display.

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Exceedingly Fine Bronze Okimono of Elephant Attacked by Tigers

Meiji Period

Regular Price: $12,500.00
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catalog text

Workshop of Omori Mitsumoto (kôgen), 大森光元, Japan, circa 1900

Cast and patinated bronze, hardwood base, two carved hardwood tusks, glass eyes in tigers | signed to the underside of the elephant

Item # 309EMB17W 

An exceedingly good example of the incredible detail and quality of work that the Japanese metalworkers of the Meiji period could produce, the present group depicts a furious elephant being attacked by two tigers.

The skill with which the tigers are executed is in itself notable, each with a stark contrast between the high polish of raised stripes and the matte texture of low stripes - the variation is achieved almost entirely by texture and the way the chemicals react with the open-grain of the metal. Positively brilliant. The most minute details of each tiger is carefully conceived and executed with full development of the hair on their paws being chiseled and hammered, the undersides of their paws being fully articulated and perhaps most notably, the brilliant glass eyes are retained and positively glow.

But more impressive than the tigers is the powerful figure of the elephant. He is fierce and presents with such intensity that the fight appears to already be lost for the cats, the lower of which is about to be crushed by a raised front foot.

The development of the skin is difficult to convey with photography, where it is not just chiseled and chased, but rather has taken an exquisite naturalism with a waxy flow that is exactly as one would expect from life itself. The curves of the thick hide flow around the anatomy so convincingly, bunched up where the legs are prone and stretched tight as his muscles are taught. This is a level of capture from the underlying mold that is unexpected and really quite a marvel.

Both tusks pictured are carved hardwood replacements, but we do have one original tusk still retained (photos available on request). The complex group presents over a naturalistic hardwood base. The underside of the elephant is signed for the workshop of Omori Mitumoto (大森光元).

Measurements: [total with base] 18 3/4" H x 18 3/4" D x 23 1/2" W; [bronze only] 13 3/8" H x 11" D x 17 1/2" W

Condition Report:
Bronze in very fine condition with only the most minor surface wear, all carefully polished and a brilliant presentation; two tusks are carved hardwood replacements - one original tusk (not pictured) will be included. Hardwood base with minor chipping and wear.