Chokin Engraving

By mwilcox


Chokin metal work is an art form that dates all the way back to the 12th century and used a variety of different colored metals from base metals to 24-karat gold. The color of each metal used as part of the overall design, in many cases on a dark background. This technique had its roots in Japanese weaponry, its first use was to decorate items used by the Samurai class, their armor, swords and other weapons.

The tradesmen that banked on steady work from the Samurai faced a big problem when the Samurai /Warlord class fell from power and were banned form carrying swords in 1876. This sudden lack of patronage forced the Choking artists to find other markets for their products, so they expanded into decorative arts items that could be desired by a wider clientele, in both export and domestic markets. The designs on these more modern examples of Chokin metalware are typically of traditional Japanese depicting mythological beings such as dragons, immortals and demons, pagoda landscapes, fishing boats and Geisha girls.

Values for the Chokin pieces vary by size and quality of the workmanship, but values tend to be very modest when one considers the workmanship involved. This Chokin engraving is a good example, incredible detail, but comparables often sell at auction for less than $50.00.