East Asia, Japan, early to mid-Edo period, ca. 1603 to 1750 CE. An impressive pair of large leather horse saddle flaps of rounded rectangular form painted with opposite facing dragons in hues of gold and crimson on a black ground. Surrounded by a golden border, these ferocious beasts walk horizontally upon taloned claws. Their bodies exhibit long spiked spines and many intricately painted scales, as red flames and volutes of smoke rise around them. With long horns sprouting from their heads, the serpentine monsters display circular beady eyes, extended snouts, long moustaches, and fierce mouths spread open exposing sharp teeth and blood red tongues. Each panel features two gold circles at its top, each with 4 perforations looped with rope, for suspension, and 3 vertical lines of Japanese kanji in black ink on their back. Size: 23" W x 19" H (58.4 cm x 48.3 cm)
Provenance: private New Jersey, USA collection
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Expected surface wear with fraying to rope and peripheries, some tearing on sides, and slight bending of form. Some light fading to ink on back. Otherwise, very nice with excellent remaining pigment.