Fine Komai inlaid-iron pagoda model, Japanese Meiji period


With an exceptional number of fine details, this large Japanese pagoda model displays the complex Nunome Zogan technique whereby gold is inlaid into iron.


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This spectacular Komai pagoda model was crafted by some of the best late 19th century Japanese artists. Using the complex Nunome Zogan technique (also referred to as Komai), the large model is filled with impeccable details, encouraging the observer to spend time carefully analysing each facet of the piece.

Topping the two-level pagoda is a delicate finial made up of several sacred rings as well as other symbolic details. Four thin chains extend from the top of the piece, each one leading to the rooftop. Both roofs are superbly engraved with scenes of dragons which in Japanese culture are believed to be the protectors of humanity. Delicate wave-like, swirling patterns are added on the edges, a motif repeated on other parts of the piece such as the bells hanging on each corner.

Modelled as verandas with railings, each side of the antique is beautifully and skillfully adorned with nature-inspired scenes and iconography relating to Japanese culture. The smallest of details have been considered such as the realistic imitation of wood texture found on the floors and steps.

Lockable compartments are included on both levels, each double door opening to reveal pairs of drawers, and additional larger drawers are hiding in the square base. All are decorated with further complex illustrations with, for example, depictions of irises amongst tall grass.

The large Japanese model stands on a refined wooden plinth, its geometric, pared-down design superbly complementing the richer design of the Komai pagoda.

The Nunome Zogan technique involves the inlay of gold into iron to create attention-grabbing designs. It was first brought to Japan from Syria in the 14th century and was initially mostly used on sword designs.

Showcasing very fine Japanese craftsmanship, this antique model is a very desirable addition to one’s collection.

Temple: Height 33cm, width 15cm, depth 15cm
Base: Height 2 cm, width 13.5cm, depth 13.5cm
Together: Height 35cm, width 15cm, depth 15cm


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Japanese Interest, Meiji
Gold, Iron, Wood
Brown, Gold


35 cm / 13.8 inches
15 cm / 5.9 inches
15 cm / 5.9 inches


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