This is an original, vintage Takahashi Lady Amherst Pheasant bird pin. It showcases the brilliant coloring of the male bird, with a red crest, black breast with its distinctive white and black neck; blue and yellow lower body, ending in brown and black striped extra long tail feathers. The copper wire legs and feet clasp a small, real wood branch.The artist, Kiyoka Takahashi, reproduced her bird pins based upon drawings from Audubon publications. The bird pins are difficult to find, with this Lady Amherst Pheasant among the rarest. This pheasant is approximately 4.2 inches 10.7 cm. From beak to tail tip and just under 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) tall with a horizontal pin back. The bird is in excellent vintage condition.
Clasp works and is attached with small push pins. It is shown on page 103 of Julia C. Carroll's Collecting Costume Jewelry 303. In that book, she relates the inspiring story behind the creation of Takahashi bird pins book.Created by Yoneguma and Kiyoka Takahashi, these marvelous wood birds are miniature works of art. The Takahashi family were among many Japanese-Americans confined in Poston Camp, AZ after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. While in the camp, they participated in a craft class where they learned to carve and paint small birds and after release (3 1/2 years later) they turned this craft into a family business that continued for 40 years. Yoneguma carved the birds out of white holly wood, starting with a jig saw, then smoothing and sanding the bird. When done, Kiyoka painted the birds (using an Audubon bird book for reference) with watercolors using fine camel hair brushes. 10 coats of lacquer were then applied. A good day's production was 10 birds. Production was mostly lapel pins, but earrings were also made.
Initially more than 100 species were made, both male and female, but eventually about 25 different birds were offered regularly for sale. Some birds created before the 1970s have the initials K.
After 1970, the initials K&Y.