Okimono: Heike-gani (Crab)


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Basic Information

Artifact Identification Okimono: Heike-gani (Crab)   (2005.11.0015)
  1. Communication Artifacts
  2. :
  3. Art
  4. :
  5. N/A
Artist/Maker None
Geographic Location
Period/Date Meiji Period (1868-1912), Late 19th - early 20th century
Culture Japanese
Location On Exhibitin the East Asia exhibit

Physical Analysis

Dimension 1 (Width) 28.5 cm
Dimension 2 (Depth) 15 cm
Dimension 3 (Height) 9 cm
Weight 253 g
Measuring Remarks None
Materials Plant--Boxwood, Plant--Wood
Manufacturing Processes Carved
Munsell Color Information N/A

Research Remarks

Published Description N/A

"A very fine and large early Meiji period boxwood crab, 11”long x 6 1/2” wide x 3 1/2” high. This okimono is finely carved overall. It is said that the spirit of the Heike (Taira) clan, fallen warriors, live on in the local crabs now known as Heike-gani. Warriors’ faces are seen in the ridges and contours of the shells of the Heiki-gani. The story of these fallen warriors is also known as Dan-no-ura. This subject is often depicted in Japanese Ukiyo-e (traditional woodblock prints).

An articulated crab can be made of many pieces, which are then pinned together, while a crab carved from one piece of wood requires more concentrated effort." - Bernie McManus, Appraiser, Woodbury House, Connecticut, 8/31/2005


Sotheby’s, New York City, sale 7341, 9/13/1999, lot #71, boxwood articulated Japanese crab, 6”, signed ‘Hokyudo Masayoshi’, 19th century.

Bibliography N/A

Artifact History

Archaeological Data N/A
Credit Line/Dedication Fred A. Freund Collection
Reproduction No
Reproduction Information N/A

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