Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird box

    Singing bird box


    20th century

    Amber, mother of pearl, ivory, brass, steel, wood; parfling, polishing, turning

    4.8 х 13.8 х 8.6 сm, 475 gr


    Singing bird box in rectangular ivory case on four round legs. The top panel is decorated with four amber balls and four rectangular plates with rounded corners featuring birds, insects and butterflies in the Shibayama style parfling technique. A round aperture, covered with a hinged lid decorated by onlay with an image of black bird is in the center of the top panel. The inner side of it is smooth. A wooden rack is under the top panel. A sliding button for switching on/off the movement is on the front panel. An aperture for the bird's movement winding and three screw heads are on the bottom wooden panel. When the movement is activated, the oval lid opens; a miniature bird in the painted feathers of brown, red, green and yellow colours appears. It turns, flaps its wings, opens and closes the beak. The sound mechanism imitates bird's chirping. At the end of the program, the bird is hidden in the groove in the openwork-gilded lattice and the lid is closed. The founder of the Shibayama style is Ōnoki Senzō (1775 - 1836), who arrived in Edo (Tokyo) from the village of Sibayama, in the province of Simos (Ibaraki prefecture). He signed his works as Shibayama Senzo, adding his native village to his name.