However, suggestions that the well has already run dry are a little wide of the mark.
While, in financial terms, a shadow of sales in Hong Kong and New York, in terms of volume this May’s series of London and regional sales are up to scratch with three sales each for Sotheby’s (May 14, 15, 17), Christie’s (May 14), Chiswick Auctions (May 20) and Woolley & Wallis (May 21-22), and four at Bonhams (May 13-16).
It is an Asian collection that has consigned the top-estimated lot: an imperial Qianlong three-colour lacquer throne that has its own catalogue at Christie’s on May 14.
A stronger representation of Japanese wares is evident this year than last with three auction houses holding designated sales in this ‘green shoots’ category.
Sotheby’s is among them. Its first stand-alone Japanese event for many years last November included a pair of lacquer screens by Yasui Hochu sold at £600,000, a record for a Meiji work of art.
A selection of forthcoming highlights appears in the Asian Art feature of this issue (2391).