NECKPIECE, 1981, WON HO CHONG, COLLECTION OF THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM, SYDNEY. PHOTO: SOTHA BOURN – TAASA Review September 2011
The silver-grey colour seen on the neckpiece is an alloy of copper and silver called shibuichi in Japanese, and is also known as misty or hazy silver.
Shibuichi, or `a quarter’, is so named as the silver conventionally amounts to 25% of the alloy’s composition.
Just as with shakudo/ odong, there are colour variations in shibuichi, such as a light variant that contains a high amount of silver, and a dark variant that contains copper, silver and gold (Oguchi 1983: 125 and O’Dubhghaill & Jones 2009: 291). In brief, the traditional process of creating these alloys involves melting the copper in a carbon crucible, and adding the desired quantity of gold and/or silver...