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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Japanese new weave wave

04 April 2022

During the Meiji period, the Kyoto artist and entrepreneur Nishimura Sozaemon (1855-1935) used Western mechanised weaving techniques to develop new styles of Japanese decorative textiles.

Elephants print

London dealer’s Japanese art collection to go on show at Royal Academy of Arts

24 February 2022

Israel Goldman’s private collection of paintings by 19th century Japanese artist Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-89) will go on show from March this year.

Japanese Meiji 10-yen coin

Pick of the week: Meiji 10 yen pattern coin takes £260,000

24 January 2022

Rare Japanese Meiji gold coin emerges at auction in West Sussex

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Japanese carvings turn heads at Stride auction

17 January 2022

Japanese antique ivories have been gradually disappearing from the catalogues of prominent dealers and major auction houses but good examples are still being sold in the regions.

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Jumbo price for Japanese rarity despite the condition

17 January 2022

Early Japanese porcelain models of animals are very rare, and this elephant form koro, c.1700, offered for sale as part of the Woolley & Wallis (25/12% buyer’s premium) Japanese works of art sale appears to be unrecorded.

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Japanese cloisonné casket sells at over 20-times estimate at Andrew Smith

17 January 2022

This Japanese cloisonné casket bears the mark for the Ando Company of Nagoya.

Japanese cabinet

Pick of the week: Trading places in Japan with Edo period cabinet

29 November 2021

Estimated at £40,000-60,000, a lacquer cabinet from Edo period Japan sold for £105,000 at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury on November 23.

Japanese porcelain elephant

Japanese porcelain elephant stars in our pick of five auction highlights

26 November 2021

ATG’s weekly selection of items that caught bidders’ eyes includes an early Japanese porcelain elephant form koro from c.1700 that made 12-times estimate at Woolley & Wallis.

Japanese netsuke

Japanese ‘mythical octopus’ carving stars in our pick of five auction highlights

05 November 2021

Our weekly selection of items that caught bidders’ eyes includes a documented netsuke by the great Tokyo carver Nakamura Tokisada which sold six-times over estimate at auction.

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Woodblock print sails in to south London

18 October 2021

This Katsushika Hokusai woodblock print from the series Hyakunin isshu uba ga enoki (The Hundred Poems as Told by the Nurse) is titled Poem by Fujiwara No Toshiyuki Ason.

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Netsuke makes a stand

18 October 2021

This 7½in (19cm) Japanese wood netsuke shows the standing figure of Ashinaga with his arms outstretched.

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Trading places: Japanese lacquer cabinet made for the Western market

18 October 2021

This 17th century Japanese lacquer cabinet was made for the Western market, c.1680.

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Eastern promise: Asian Art in London award nominees announced

18 October 2021

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

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Japanese auctions trio to be staged by Sotheby's

18 October 2021

Sotheby’s will hold three online sales of Japanese works of art that run from October 22 and close from November 2-5.

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Incense burner topped by a dog and ball

18 October 2021

This Meiji period iron incense burner from Japan was made using nunome zogan: the art of inlaying different metals into one another.

AUCTION PREVIEWS: highlights from November UK sales of Chinese, Japanese and south-east Asian works of art

18 October 2021

Once again the UK auction market gears up for the biggest of its two annual Asian art seasons.

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Lectern took musical inspiration

18 October 2021

The November 4 Japanese sale at Bonhams includes, estimated at £7000-8000, this Meiji (1868-1912) or Taisho (1912-26) era lacquer kendai (lectern) fashioned in the form of traditional court music and dance implements.

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The lure of Japan for Mortimer Menpes

13 September 2021

Mortimer Menpes (1855-1938), who painted this portrait titled 'The Yellow Parasol' visited Japan in the 1880s and 1890s.

A fine Japanese writing box and cover

Something to write home about

13 September 2021

A fine Japanese lacquer suzuribako (writing box and cover) is signed by the Edo-Meijii period lacquer artist Koma Kyuhaku.

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Animal magic as Japanese works bring demand at Woolley & Wallis

06 September 2021

This iron model of a hawk above is a striking example of a jizai okimono – lifelike, articulated animal figures popular in the last decades of Edo-period and Meiji Japan.

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