Powerhouse Museum Collection Search 2.53
Category history:

Support the Powerhouse with a tax-deductible gift

Make a donation
Scissors, 1875 - 1892
zoom image
Images: 01

Object statement
Scissors, metal, maker unknown, Japan, 1875-1892
This object is one of a collection of Japanese domestic utensils, agricultural implements and tools were acquired by the Museum in 1892.

Many of the tools in this collection are pre-Meiji era (1868-1912). When Japan reopened its doors to the outside world in the middle of the 19th century, it was stagnating under a feudal system, which had divided society into four distinct castes: warriors, farmers, artisans and tradesman. At this time, Japan was an agrarian state. Approximately 80% of the population were engaged in agriculture with 65% of the national income derived from the agricultural sector. These tools have no distinguishing features or trademarks which can tell us where they were manufactured.

In 1868, with the restoration of Imperial rule, Emperor Meiji issued an order establishing a new officialdom and proclaimed the direct rule of the throne in every line of national government. He issued a five-point oath, placing emphasis on respecting public opinion, developing relations with foreign countries and seeking knowledge far and wide. The opening of the country saw an influx of traders and merchants who brought Japanese goods and products back to western countries, such as Australia. This collection was purchased from a Mr C. J. T. Browne in 1892 who owned a Japanese Curios and Oriental Art Fabrics store in Sydney.

The collection has social and historical significance as it contains objects which are no longer used in contemporary Japanese society. It reflects the diversity of objects which came to Western countries when Japan was officially opened to foreigners. The objects also reveal social changes in society and the craze for all things oriental in the late 1880s.

Emma Johnston
Intern 2011


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan in Transition: One hundred years of Modernization (Japan, 1975).

Kobe History, accessed 31 May 2011 from,

Kiri Gimlet, Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum, accessed 14 April 2011, from

Toshio Odate, Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their tradition, Spirit and Use, (Newtown: Tauton Press, 1984).

Dr Olivier Ansart, University of Sydney Department of Japanese Studies, e-mail message to author, April 12, 2011.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Scissors, metal, maker unknown, Japan, 1875-1892

Large metal scissors, with pivot joint.
Japanese character stamped on handle
Production date
1875 - 1892
54 mm

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Purchased 1892
+ Japanese culture
+ Domestic life
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: https://ma.as/233138
Cite this object in Wikipedia
Copy and paste this wiki-markup:

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/233138 |title=Scissors |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=21 February 2017 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}

Images on this site are reproduced for the purposes of research and study only. Whilst every effort has been made to trace the Copyright holders, we would be grateful for any information concerning Copyright of the images and we will withdraw them immediately on Copyright holder's request.
Object viewed times. Parent IRN: 2140. Master IRN: 2140 Img: 328008 Flv: H:2591px W:3455px SMO:0 RIGHTS:.