Ito Katsuhide Japanese Silver Box for Maruki Meiji era

Ito Katsuhide Japanese Silver BoxIto Katsuhide Japanese Silver Box for Maruki Meiji era

Katsuhide (Ito Katsuhide) for the Maruki company
A shibuichi and silver box and cover, Meiji era (1869-1912), late 19th/early 20th century. The silver box rectangular with rounded corners and inset on the cover with a shibuichi panel designed with a landscape, fishing village, and agricultural scenes rendered in gold, silver, and shakudo takazogan, hirazogan, takabori, and kebori, signed on the cover Katsuhide koku and stamped on the silver underside Maruki sei and jungin (Pure silver)
4 1/2 x 5 3/4 x 1 3/4in (11.4 x 14.4 x 4.5cm)

Sold for US$ 500 at Bonham’s

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Shibuichi (四分一) is an alloy which can be patinated into a range of subtle muted shades of blue or green, through the use of rokushō treatments. Its name means “one-fourth” in Japanese and indicates the standard formulation of one part silver to three parts copper, though this may be varied according to the desired effect. A 5% silver / 95% copper alloy is also marketed as “shibuichi”.  A wide range of colours can be achieved using the whole range of alloy compositions, even above 50% silver, e.g. 90% copper and 10% silver for a dark grey and down to 70% copper and 30% silver for lighter greys.

It is a common misconception that both copper and silver oxides form, but in fact a detailed study has shown that only copper oxides are formed on the copper rich regions of the material’s microstructure, while the silver rich regions are left largely untouched.[citation needed]

For most of its history, shibuichi was mostly used to ornament various fittings for katana until the Meiji reforms, when most swordmakers began to make purely decorative objects instead. The material is often used in mokume-gane combinations. Similar alloys have been used elsewhere but the use of shibuichi to achieve different colored patinas appears to have remained nearly unknown outside Japan, until recent interest from artisans in the West.

Reference: Wikipedia