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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Tiny Japanese ivory takes £13,000

11 March 2013

This 1½in (3.5cm) Japanese ivory okimono stole the show at Tamylns’ in Bridgwater, Somerset when it sold to a telephone bidder for £13,000.

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Tokyo treasure at £25,000

30 July 2012

This intricate ivory okimono group from c.1880 took £25,000 at the most recent sale held by Nicholson’s of Fernhurst.

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Netsuke collection goes to Liverpool

17 November 2008

Liverpool World Museum’s Japanese holdings have been given a significant boost by the donation of 128 netsuke. The gift represents around half the collection of the late Jonas G Gadelius donated by his widow Gabita.

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$12.8m for a Kamakura Buddha with X-ray vision

25 March 2008

The highlight of the Asia week series of auctions put on by the major salerooms was an impressive early Japanese wood sculpture of Buddha. It set a new auction high for a Japanese work of art when it was hammered down to the Japanese company Mitsukoshi Co Ltd for $12.8m (£6.7m) plus premium in Christie’s sale of Japanese and Korean art on March 18.

Fraudster poses as buyer to get away with auction find

10 March 2008

A FRAUDSTER has tricked a US auction house into handing over a valuable Japanese artwork by posing as the representative of the buyer, an English dealer. It is thought they targeted the piece after realising that it was worth a great deal more than it sold for.

Bonhams welcome Sotheby’s Japanese specialists

02 July 2007

Bonhams are to take advantage of Sotheby’s decision to end Japanese sales by recruiting their top specialist and consultant.

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A good luck charm brings £41,000

06 March 2006

It was catalogued simply as “a carved and signed ivory netsuke modeled as a dragon” and estimated at just £200-300, but this 11/2in (4.5cm) netsuke shot to £41,000 (plus 15 per cent premium) at Paul Beighton of Thurcroft, near Rotherham on February 26. Why? The reason was twofold.

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Japanese specialist takes koro at £14,000

13 April 2005

Dreweatt Neate (Buyer's premium: 17.5 per cent)SOMETIMES one could be forgiven for thinking that the words ‘Oriental work of art sleeper’, as, for instance, ‘English middle order collapse’ don’t require spaces between them and that, German-style, they are all one word.

Fine Meiji from Cheshire estate

09 March 2005

A local estate was the source of some fine Meiji ivories sold by Cheshire auctioneers Frank Marshall (15% buyer’s premium) of Knutsford on January 11.

Japanese prints are unexpected Penzance stars

01 March 2005

David Lay, Penzance. January 20 & 21. Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent THERE were rather fewer lots than usual at Cornwall but the 720 on offer were true to tradition; a high take up (around 90 per cent), plenty of two- and three-figure bids on collectables and ceramics, standard furniture creeping into four figures, and one lot taking off.

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Missing – 24 years on

14 February 2005

Almost a quarter of a century after it was stolen from its walls, the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery is again appealing for the return of a Japanese woodblock print that once belonged to Vincent van Gogh.

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Dealers spot merits of Meiji

18 January 2005

A massive gulf exists between the very best quality Meiji period (1868-1912) works and the rest.

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Owls and pussycats

23 December 2004

THE last of the four annual selling shows of Japanese woodblock prints at The Japanese Gallery, 66D Kensington Church Street, London W8, is Cats, Birds and Flowers which opened earlier this month and continues until February 28, 2005.

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Under an eastern moon…

09 September 2004

FOR their selling exhibition of 70 Japanese woodblock prints to the end of November, the Japanese Gallery at 66D Kensington Church Street, London W8 have chosen the theme Snow, Moon & Flowers.

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Cock of the north crows at £5400

07 July 2004

AN impressive sight at 24in (61cm) high on its hardwood base, this Japanese Meiji period bronze cockerel provided the clear highlight of the quarterly antiques and fine art sale conducted by ELR (15% buyer’s premium) at the Sheffield Saleroom on June 11.

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Palace life for the print pioneers

07 July 2004

THE considerable coverage given to Asia Week in London, on these pages and in the national press, rather neglected one gallery which was bringing the art of the Orient to London long before the Asia week promotion was thought of.

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Pleasures of the dining room – notforgetting the corkscrew

15 June 2004

GOOD-quality mahogany and oak furniture took most of the better prices in Mitchells' (15% buyer's premium) 1566-lot May 13-14 auction which totalled £325,000.

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Maritime martial arts

10 June 2004

Comprising 60 oban panels that form 20 triptychs, a concertina form, Senso-e album of c.1895 that sold for £3200 as part of a May 27 sale of original drawings and watercolours, prints and maps held by Bloomsbury Auctions is a record of events of the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-95 in which Japan’s modernised armed forces gained a swift and comparatively easy victory over the much larger Chinese forces.

Eye-catching Orientals are Sussex highlights

26 May 2004

THE Orient provided the most eye-catching highlights at Rupert Toovey's (15% buyer's premium) March 17-19 sale, in the form of a set of four Japanese Satsuma plates signed by Kinkozan and an 18th century Chinese bamboo carving.

Japanese panels take off in international bidding frenzy

20 May 2004

A SET of four late-18th century Japanese gold lacquered panels caused a flurry of international interest when they came up for sale at Rossini (19.94% buyer’s premium) back on April 2.

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