Japanese Works of Art

The arts and antiques of Japan have been collected in the West ever since the country reopened its doors to trade with foreigners in the 1853. 

Japanese art spans early wood sculpture dating back to the Momoyama period and prized early porcelain from the Nabeshima or Kakiemon kilns. However many of the collectable categories of Japanese art date from the Meiji period (1868-1912) such as miniatures like netsuke and inro, metalwares, bronze sculptures, armour, swords and sword fittings such as tsuba.


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Bone up on Japanese woodblocks

02 November 2020

On November 18 Van Ham in Cologne will hold a Decorative Art auction which will include several more items from the collection of Thomas Olbricht.

Asian Art in London 2020 - maps of participants

26 October 2020

Download our maps showing participants in the East Asian section of Asian Art in London, October 29-November 7.

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Asian Art in London: the East Asian award nominees

26 October 2020

Following on from the nominees for the best Indian and Islamic object (published in ATG No 2463), an equivalent shortlist has been announced for pieces in the East Asian category.

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East Asian art: our pick of 23 auction previews

26 October 2020

A selection of previews from auction houses either taking part in Asian Art in London (marked below with a *) or holding sales to coincide with the event.

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East Asian art: our pick of 13 hammer highlights

26 October 2020

A selection of hammer highlights from recent auctions offering East Asian objects.

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No travels to Japan but dealer moves in on Japanese website idea

26 October 2020

Asian Art in London dealer Joost van den Bergh is launching a new website devoted to Art Deco and Modernist Japanese art to coincide with the event.

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Asian Art in London 2020: East Asian dealer previews

26 October 2020

A selection of previews from dealers taking part in the East Asian section of Asian Art in London.

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East Asian art: Asian Art in London awards shortlist announced

09 October 2020

The awards shortlist for Asian Art in London’s East Asian section have been announced.

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Japanese face armour

24 August 2020

A collection of Japanese arms and armour is a key feature of Cowan’s arms and armour auction to be held in Cincinnati on September 2.

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Mid-17th century sleeve vase among items bringing muscular bidding at Salisbury post-lockdown sale

03 August 2020

It was during the so-called Transitional period, the era of protracted civil war that marked the transition from Ming to Qing, that the centuries-old system of court-sponsored porcelain manufacture at Jingdezhen collapsed.

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Netsuke nets a white-glove result

20 July 2020

Two hundred eagerly awaited examples from Brockhaus collection generate suitable response.

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Three contrasting ways to be big in Japan

29 June 2020

Two very different Japanese works on paper performed with equal gusto at Sworders’ (25% buyer’s premium) recent Asian art sale, both making 10-times-estimate sums for a vendor from Hertfordshire.

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Toyoharu’s powers of perspective evident from album offered in Zurich

08 June 2020

While the Japanese woodblock print artist Okumura Masanobu (1686-1764) is credited with the first use of one-point perspective in the depiction of interior spaces, a technique previously known only in Western art, his colleague Utagawa Toyoharu (1735-1814) achieved even greater fame when he mastered the creation of perspective prints of outdoor scenes, known as Uki-e.

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Spring auction brings varied array of Asian art to Lewes along with European treats

06 April 2020

A cross-section of Asian art – Qing porcelain, Meiji Satsuma and Euro-Asiatic ivories – provided the prizes at Gorringe’s (21% buyer’s premium) spring sale held in Lewes.

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Pick of the week: Exceptional shodana shows super details

02 March 2020

David Lay’s (18% buyer's premium) second stand-alone Asian art sale held in Penzance was topped at £65,500 (estimate £3000-5000) by this shodana made in Meiji period Japan, c.1890.

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French cabinets head to an Eastern buyer

03 February 2020

Among the gems spotted in 2092 mixed lots at Stroud Auctions’ (18% buyer’s premium) year-opener on January 8, the best-seller was the final lot.

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The web shop window: netsuke from 1830 surfaces in time for the year of the rat

03 February 2020

Thousands of items are available to buy from dealers online. Here we pick out one that caught our eye this week.

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Japanese snake slithers beside maps and cup

23 December 2019

Alongside two key early maps of colonial North America (see News, ATG No 2422) the sale at Ramsay Cornish (20% buyer’s premium) in Edinburgh on December 7 was distinguished by five-figure bids for two rare items.

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Top-drawer Meiji productions

16 December 2019

Two lots of Japanese cloisonné – both by top-drawer Meiji workshops – merited sums way over estimate at a sale conducted by Thomas R Callan (20% buyer’s premium) in Ayr on November 30.

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Japanese Meiji period cabinet offered in Maryland sale

09 December 2019

A Japanese Meiji period shibayama inlaid lacquer shodana will feature in the Asian works of art section of Weschler’s Capital Collections auction on December 13 in Rockville, Maryland.

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