Japanese Gilt Bronze Pheasant
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:34)
APPRAISER: So, tell me what you know about the piece.
GUEST: You know, I really don't know much of anything. I have two. I was at an auction, and you get those little bid cards, and mine went up, and I got him. I know nothing about him. I didn't even know what the metal was. I know that they're beautiful. I have other sets of birds, not quite as large as these.
GUEST: And that's all I know.
APPRAISER: One of the things about this piece that's rather fascinating is that it is actually the last of the best production that Japan ever did. There was a period of time in Japan called the Meiji period from, like, 1868 to 1912. And in that period of time, they produced some fantastic metalworks. And basically the people kind of died off about the period of World War I, and this was produced right about that period of time. It's beautifully gilded, and then this black that's here is actually painted on.
GUEST: Oh, my.
APPRAISER: And then it has two different kinds of gilding-- the gilding that's here that's just very, very finely done and then this other kind of gilding that's actually sheets of gold that they've put over here.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh.
APPRAISER: The metal itself is bronze--
APPRAISER: --that's underneath it. And it's signed in two places.
GUEST: Well, I saw one, and I--
APPRAISER: The one you saw was this one here, which is the signature.
GUEST: --could not find anywhere...
APPRAISER: The maker's name is Hidemitsu. That's his name there in that... within that gilt cartouche. But then one thing that's very, very difficult to see that's very, very faint on there is a "Made in Japan."
APPRAISER: Right there.
GUEST: Oh, for heaven's... I see it now. The light is right on it.
APPRAISER: Yep, and that's one of the things that identifies it as being, like, at the very end of the Meiji period doesn't have but probably into the Taisho era, because that mark was required by United States export laws after 1910. So, that's when that happened.
GUEST: Isn't that something?
APPRAISER: But it's an incredible bird, and it's also wonderful that you have a pair.
GUEST: I can't even remember what I paid for these-- a couple hundred bucks, maybe.
APPRAISER: Wow, you were lucky there, because I would actually say that a single one alone would be around $3,000 to $5,000. (laughs)
APPRAISER: Yes. And the pair more like $6,000 to $10,000.
GUEST: Are you kidding? Oh, my God. Who would have thought?
APPRAISER: They do brilliant work with this kind of stuff.
GUEST: They are pheasants, right?
APPRAISER: Yeah, they are pheasants.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.