Sign up for the monthly zoom events by sending a PM with your email address to Hitesh

Main Menu

Mother of pearl -Japanes

Started by Amitav, May 01, 2023, 08:57:14 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


This is made on a sea shell...said it's mother pearls, but an authentic piece from Japanese culture of ancient times....not a token made recently.
But need expert advice on this to get better understanding and enhancing knowledge about the antique item.



Hi Amitav,

I saw this kind of object before. Maybe even here on WoC. As far as i remember these were Chinese. They were made and used as gaming tokens mainly at the end of the 19th century.
Taking a quick look at Ebay i see quite some offered at relatively low prices. This may indicate that some are reproduced to this day in China.



My understanding too is that they are Chinese gambling counters. The blank on the reverse was for putting the owner's initials on.

They come in round, rectangular and fish shape. The round and rectangular ones can be solid or pierced on the edges. They also vary quite a lot in quality, with quailty probably the best indication of age.

I have a high quality one that unfortunately has a piece missing. This probably dates from the around 1800. This, like yours, is rectangular. The piece you have is of good quality, so probably made around 1850-1900 and not very common.

The common low quality ones, which include the fish shaped ones I have seen, were probably made as late as the 1930s with quality declining as time progressed. These are can be obtained on the internet quite cheap, often in a group. However it is more a case of low quality and common leading to low price rather than anything else. Some of them can be quite expensive and they are can be seen mounted for use as pendants.