Saegusa Sōtarō (1911-2006)

Pair of Hares

Inv. Nr. #22.011
Date Japan, Shōwa period, mid 20th century
Material Patinated bronze
Dimensions H 15,5 x W 15,0 x D 8,5 and H 7,0 x W 8,0 x D 5,5 cm

With original artist's label.

Saegusa Sōtarō is one of the most famous Japanese metal artists of the 20th century. Born in 1911 on the island of Shōdo-shima in Kagawa Prefecture, he began sculpting at an early age and was soon recognized as a great talent in the field.


Saegusa participated in numerous prestigious exhibitions such as Nitten, the Japan Art Exhibition, and received numerous awards throughout his career. He is now collected by many museums, and many of his large-scale monumental works are installed in public spaces in many cities throughout Japan. Saegusa covered a wide range of subjects and themes, reflecting Japanese culture in his semi-abstract works.


In the later years of his career, he created a number of smaller works. Made as okimono, or "things to place," for the tokonoma niche in traditional Japanese houses, Saegusa brought to life a circle of the twelve zodiac animals, one of which is represented here: the hare. In East Asian cultures, hares are a symbol of elegance, friendliness and diplomatic skills. As a pair, they usually represent a harmonious relationship and are therefore a lucky symbol for the virtues of a fruitful and happy partnership.


Saegusa worked and taught as a professor at the Nagoya University of Arts.