A charming Japanese celluloid clam shell with a highly detailed village scene and moving water wheel.
This wonderful little diorama features a waving farmer standing outside his house. The house is surrounded by bushes and trees and a cow stands to his left with a pretty stream flowing by to his right. In the stream there is a small boat. A bridge extends over to the far side of the stream. A waterwheel is attached to the side of his house and this wheel has been designed to turn.
The detail on this little piece is amazing.
The clam shell itself, features a water dragon on the top and two small feet are set on the bottom to enable the shell to stand firmly on a flat surface.
These clam dioramas would have originally been carved from ivory or bone and be highly prized, similar to netsuke. In the early 20th century they were reproduced in celluloid as souvenirs for marketing to soldiers in the War.
This charming little scene measures approx. 8.5 x 6.5 x 5.5cm. There is a small opening on the front edge where the celluloid has come apart.
This is an excellent example of its kind and quite rare since it appears to be in its original state with all its three dimensional details still intact.
A fascinating and charming little Japanese diorama.