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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Kensington Church Street dealers ask trade to be vigilant following thefts

26 March 2018

A thief who targeted Kensington Church Street dealers is believed to have struck again.

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Unprecedented collection of maps of Japan offered by Daniel Crouch Rare Books in Tokyo

21 March 2018

Daniel Crouch Rare Books offers what is dubbed the largest collection of maps of Japan ever to come on the open market at this week’s Tokyo Book Fair.

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Sweet okimono success in Shropshire

12 March 2018

Widely exported during the Meiji period to a Western market newly awake to the skills of Japanese craftsmen, okimono now often appear at provincial salerooms.

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Netsuke fans look further afield

12 March 2018

With Bonhams the only one of the ‘big three’ in this market, other salerooms carve out a role...

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The importance of TEFAF Maastricht and my star item this year – images and video

26 February 2018

Here we ask the dealers who participated in ATG's Round Table discussion the reasons why they choose to stand at the fair and ask them to pick out a star item they are taking this year.

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Japanese arms come via Holland to Cheltenham

23 October 2017

Mallams will sell a significant Dutch collection of Japanese swords and armour as part of this week’s auction of Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Islamic Art in Cheltenham on October 25-26.

Japanese Edo period suit of armour

Major Japanese arms and armour collection offered in Cheltenham auction

21 October 2017

A substantial collection of Japanese arms and armour formed by a Dutch collector will be offered at auction in Cheltenham next week.

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Meiji okimono by Nogami Ryuki at Laura Bordignon

27 September 2017

This Japanese bronze okimono of turtles – symbolic of longevity and good luck – belonged to the empress Shōken (1849-1914), the consort of the emperor Meiji who ruled Japan from 1868-1912.

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Pair of Edo iron and bronze vases at Kevin Page

27 September 2017

The collection of Japanese and Chinese works of art at Eaton Neston near Towcester was formed largely by Thomas George Fermor-Hesketh (1849-1924).

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Japanese screen reveals demand

11 September 2017

The slow, but observable, return of competition for fine Japanese works of art was evident at Hannam’s (20% buyer’s premium) of Selborne on August 23 in the form of this large Meiji ivory scholar’s table screen, below.

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Tiger displays bite as Kent tartanware checks in

10 July 2017

One of the earliest examples of the lucrative tartan tourism, which dates back to George IV’s visit to Edinburgh in 1822 and was turbo-charged by Queen Victoria’s love of the Highlands, were the sycamore boxes and trinkets made in small factories in the little Ayrshire town of Mauchline.

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Asian art Japanese: Tomatada shines in Katchen collection

05 June 2017

The centrepiece of Bonhams’ Japanese offering on May 11 was the second part of the extraordinary collection of netsuke formed by US concert pianist Julius Katchen (1926-69) and his wife Arlette.

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Meiji incense burner is €12,000 (£10,435) Dusseldorf auction buy

10 April 2017

Numerous bidders competed for a5½in (14cm) high Japanese incense burner from the Meiji period (1868-1912) at a sale held by Hargesheimer (25% buyer’s premium) in Dusseldorf on March 10-11.

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Krugier name adds to appeal of £55,000 Hokusai drawing

01 April 2017

This Japanese rice paper drawing was among a number of lots to draw strong bidding at Dreweatts and Bloomsbury’s (24% buyer’s premium) offering of the Jan Krugier collection.

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Chiswick sees eastern promise

01 April 2017

As evidenced by prices recently recorded on these pages for Meiji and earlier material, collectors and dealers have been ahead of the City analysts currently looking at the revival of the Japanese stock exchange.

Meiji period netsuke of a rat

The rat awakens – Netsuke estimated at £200-300 sparks bidding war and sells at £28,500

22 July 2016

This tiny ivory netsuke of a rat was the major suprise of a recent auction in the Cotswolds.

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Sweet scent for best of 18th century France

02 May 2015

Briefly owned by Louis XVI, who intended them for the Louvre, this 13in (33.5cm) high pair of fine gilt-bronze-mounted kakiemon porcelain and Egyptian porphyry brûle parfums sold for £1.65m at Sotheby’s in London this week.

Netsuke bonanza at Cologne saleroom

12 May 2014

In a series of sales to be spread over the coming years, Cologne auctioneers Lempertz are selling netsuke from the Kolodotschko collection.

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Stolen antiques now safe after ATG alert

31 March 2014

A Derby porcelain plaque and two Japanese plates have been returned by Surrey Police to two stately homes after they were recognised from an alert in Antiques Trade Gazette

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Rediscovered Japanese coffer sells to Rijksmuseum at £5m

09 July 2013

An exceptional piece of 17th century Japanese export lacquer with a provenance to match has produced the highest auction price in France this year when it was sold to the Rijksmuseum for a hammer price of €5.9m (£5.26m).

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