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Bronze, 1800–1900s, probably Japan. Museum no. A.98-1919
This bronze is a life-cast taken from a Chinese mittten crab (or Eriocheir). Its origins are unclear, but it is most likely a Japanese cast of the nineteenth or twentieth century. It was apparently made using the ‘burn out’ method of casting whereby the dead animal is encased in a clay-based mould material and heated to high temperature. The carcass is burnt out, and the space left is filled with molten bronze, which cools and hardens to create a realistic replica of the animal.