Height: 2 inches, 5 cm

Ivory okimono of an apple

Japan, Meiji period, 1868 – 1912

An ivory okimono, naturalistically carved to represent an apple.  The apple has a section of skin peeled back to reveal the white flesh underneath. The skin is stained partly pink and the small stalk is stained a brown colour.

The term okimono in Japanese literally means “object for placement [on display]”. Hyper-realistic ‘trompe-l’oeil’ ivory carvings of fruit, in the form of tangerines and bananas were very popular in Japan during the Meiji period.  An ivory carving of a tangerine, described as Chinese but probably made in Japan, is in the Kwan collection.1

  1. Kao, Mayching (ed.) Chinese ivories from the Kwan Collection, Art Gallery of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1990, no. 155, pp. 310-31