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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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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Snail netsuke from Nagoya crawls into Cologne auction

18 November 2019

During the late 18th century, schools of netsuke carving were established throughout Japan.

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Antiques dealer appeals for help from trade to locate stolen Japanese bronze from Portobello Road

03 July 2019

Antiques belonging to dealer John Langin of RA Barnes Antiques were stolen on two occasions from outside his stall at Portobello Road market last month.

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East meets West in £11,500 cabinet

24 June 2019

The resurgent interest in quality Japanese material and the slower revival of English furniture were both evident in a cabinet on stand sold at West Sussex auction house Toovey’s (24.5% buyer’s premium).

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£40,000 sleeper is Edo export survivor

27 May 2019

Unusually for an Asian art sale, the top price at Sworders' latest offering in in Stansted Mountfitchet was paid for a Japanese work of art.

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Foreign visitors go on a journey to Exeter

20 May 2019

Topped by an eight-times estimate £19,500 Momoyama ‘Namban’ cabinet (ATG No 2391), Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s (21% buyer’s premium) sale in Exeter on April 16 had other estimate-busting lots from abroad.

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Five highlights estimated under £1000 at Halls’ Asian sale this week – including an Indian rarity donated to a charity shop

13 May 2019

Halls' sale on May 15 in Shrewsbury, combining Asian objects with a country house sale, has ceramics, textiles and paintings at a range of prices to tempt new collectors. ATG picked five items for closer inspection.

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Quality counts in Japanese market

06 May 2019

Works by Namikawa Yasuyuki underline how buyers are aiming at the very best when it comes to the Japanese market ahead of a series of UK sales.

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Huthart collection of netsuke offered at Bonhams

06 May 2019

Robert S Huthart, the Newcastle-born manager of the Hong Kong department store conglomerate Lane Crawford, was first introduced to netsuke on a visit to Tokyo when he was given of a copy of 'The Wonderful World of Netsuke' by Raymond Bushell.

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Sotheby’s to offer Shibata Zeshin panel in London sale

06 May 2019

This framed wood panel decorated in gold, silver and red lacquer with a pair of spiny lobsters on a rocky outcrop is signed 'Gyoen Hachijuni O Koma Zeshin' (An old man in his 82nd year, Kona Zeshin) and dated 1888.

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A grand Chinese view and at Japanese teabowl stand emerge at Woolley & Wallis

06 May 2019

On May 21 Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury will offer 'The Grand View of Chao Mountain' by Zhang Da Qian (1899-1983) estimated at £100,000-150,000 as part of its sale of Chinese paintings and works of art.

Meiji vase

Meiji-period cloisonné enamel vase heads back to Japan after auction in Kent

25 April 2019

A Meiji period vase by one of the greatest exponents of the intricate art of cloisonné enamel will be heading back to its country of origin after its sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries.

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