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Japanese & Korean Art

Christie's New York


10AM, September 18, 2013

Sale 2725


Catalogue cover

Catalogue cover with illustration of one of 12 lacquer paintings by Shibata Zeshin, 7 5/8 by 6 5/8 inches


By Carter B. Horsley


This auction of Japanese  and Korean Art at Christie's New York, March 20, 2012 features somes spectacular, very ornate and monumental Japanese bronzes, a glorious cloissoné Japanese vase, and a nice assortment of Japanese scrolls, screens and inro as well as some fine Korean ceramics and paintings.

Japanese Art

The cover illustration of the catalogue, shown above, is one of 12 lacquer paintings by Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891) for an accordian album.  The paintings, which measures 7 5/8 by 6 5/8 inches, are newly discovered and are similar to ones in the Imperial Household Collection  and some from the Catherine amd Thomas Edson Collection.  The lot has an estimate of $120,000 to $180,000.  It sold for $339,750 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

Of the 343 offered lots, 202, or 59 percent, sold for $5,201,438.

After the sale, Katsura Yamaguchi, international director of Japanese and Korean Art said that "fresh-to-the-market works from private collections performed very well in the sale as did prints," adding that "works of art from the Meiji period  also achieved strong prices due to active international participation across the board, from Frace to China to Mexico."


Lacquer book cabinet

Lot 688, Lacquer book cabinet (shondana), Meiji Period (late 19th Century), 41 3/4 by 38 1/8 by 15 3/4 inches

Lot 688 is a "magnificent" lacquer book cabinet (shondana) from the Meiji Period (late 19th Century). It measures 41 3/4 by 38 1/8 by 15 3/4 inches.

Detail of front of cabinet

Detail of front of Lot 688

Some of the designs are from the Tale of Genji.  


Detail of top of cabinet

Detail of the top of Lot 688

It has an estimate of $180,000 to $220,000.  It failed to sell.

Okegawa hishi-nui nimai-do gusoku   Detail of helmet of lot 705

Lot 705, brown-lacquered okegawa hishi-nui nimai-do gusoku (armor), Edo Period, 17th-18th Century, and detail of helmet

Lot 705 is an impressive figue in armor from the Edo Period, 17th-18th Century with a helmet crown depicting a single-horn grimacing shikami head.  The lot has an estimate of $25,000 to $30,000.  It failed to sell.

Four suits of armor

Lots 707, 705, 704 and 706, Edo Period armor

Lot 707 is a black-lacquered dark blue-laced gomai-do gusoku from the Edo Period.  It has an estimate of $25,000 to $30,000. It sold for $30,000. 

Lot 704 is a brown-lacquered iroiro odoshi nuinobe nimai-do gusoku.  It has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.  It sold for $16,250.

Lot 706 is a black-lacquered dark blue-laced shishi uchidachi gomai-do gusoku.  It has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.  It sold for $18,750.

Palenquin

Lot 689, Lacquer palaquin, Edo Period, 19th Century, 46 by 33 by 51 inches

The entrance to the auction house for the exhibition was highlighted by Lot 689 an exquisite lacquer palanquin from the Edo Period, 19th Century.  It measures 46 by 33 by 51 inches and its interior is as lavish and colorful as its exterior.  The catalogue noted that there is a similar one in the Tokyo National Museum.  The lot has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  It sold for $40,000.

Portuguese ship screen

Lot 633, "A Portuguese Ship Comes to Trade," six-panel screen, 61 by 137 1/2 inches, late 16th-17th Century

Detail of Lot 633

Detail of Lot 633

Lot 633, "A Portuguese Ship Comes to Trade," is a late 16th-early 17th Century six-panel screen that measures 61 1/4 by 137 1/2 inches.  It has been widely published.  

The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:

"Portuguses traders reached Japan in 1543, and by 1573 they had selected the Bay of Nagasaki as the ideal natural harbor for the center of their commerce.  The Portugense nau, or carrack, was known to the Japanese as the kurofune (black ship) or nanban ban, ship of the Nanban, or Southern Barbarians so called becuase these foreigners arrived from the south. (The term originated in China, where all foreigners were regarded as barbarians.)...Nearly one hundred Nanban screens are now recorded, and Japanese scholars have determined that the subject ranked second in popularity only to screens depiting Scenes in and Around the Capital."

The lot has an estimate of $700,000 to $900,000.  It failed to sell.

"A Portuguese ship comes to trade" screen

Lot 638, "A Portuguese ship comes to trade, pair of six-screeens, ink, color, gold and gold leaf on paper 17th Century, 54 3/4 by 135 1/2 inches each

Detail of Lot 638

Detail of Lot 638

Lot 638 is a 17th Century pair of six-panel screens entitled "A Portuguese Ship Comes to Trade.'  Each screen measures 54 3/4 by 135 1/2 inches.    The screens are a new discovery and have never been published and closely follow a set at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  The lot has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.  It failed to sell.

Kabuki screen

Lot 637, "Kabuki Theater," anonymous, 17th Century, six-panel screen, 41 3/4 by 103 3/4 inches

Lot 637 is an anonymous, six-panel screen from the 17th Century titled "Kabuki Theater."  It measures 41 3/4 by 103 3/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.  It failed to sell.

Calligraphy

Lot 572, "Ichimonji, Lot 573, "Bosusho," and Lot 574, "Onore (I, Myself)," all by Tawara Yusaku, hanging scrolls, 24 5/8 by 23 5/8, 21 1/2 by 15 1/8 and 35 7/8 by 11 3/8 inches, respectively

Lots 572, 573 and 574 are calligraphy hanging scrolls by Tawara Yusaku (1932-2004).  Lot 574, "Onore (I, myself)," is the most largest and most impressive. It had an estimate of $5,000 to $7,000.  It sold for $5,000.  The others failed to sell.

Inlaid iron disk

Lot 759, large inlaid iron dish, Meiji Period (late 19th Century), signed Nihon Koku Kyoto Ju Komai Sei, 15 3/4 inches in diameter

Lot 759 is an impressive inlaid iron dishvfrom the Meiji Period (late 19th Century).  It is 15 3/4 inches in diameter and is signed Nihon  Koku.  It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000.  It failed to sell.

Sosetsu scroll   Detail

Lot 538, "Blue Morning Glory," by Kitagawa Sosetsu, framed and glazed hanging school, ink, color and gold on paper, 41 1/2 by 15 3/4 inches

Lot 538 is a beautiful hanging  scroll entitled "Blue Morning Glory" by Kitagawa Sosetsu (active mid-17th Century).  It measures 41 1/2 by 15 3/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $5,000 to $7,000.  It failed to sell.

Korean Art

Video paintings

Lot 842, Two video installations, Chochungdo (Insects and plants) of Shin Saimdang, 2007, 13 3/4  by 11 inches each

Perhaps the most charming lot in the auction is Lot 842, two small video installations by Lee Leenam (b. 1969), entitled "Chochungdo (insects and plants) of Shin Saimdang."  They were created in 2007 and their animation is quite poetic.  Each measures 13 3/4 by 11 inches.  The lot has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.  It sold for $10,625.

Two ceramics by Yoon Gwangio

Lot 840, left, and Lot 841, right, ceramic  plates by Yoon Gwangio

Lot 840 is an attractive, white ceramic plate by Yoon Gwangio (b. 1946) that measures 22 by 11 3/8 inches.  It has an estimate of $1,500 to $2,000.  It sold for $1,250

Lot 841 is a black ceramic plate by Gwangio that measures 17 7/8 by 9 7/8 inches.  It has an estimate of $1,500 to $2,000.  It failed to sell.

Island Sketches

Lot 851, "Island Sketches," by Kim Whanki," oil on canvas, 31 1/2 by 39 1/4 inches

Lot 851, "Island Sketches," is an oil on canvas by Kim Whanki (1913-1974).  It measures 31 1/2 by 39 1/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  It sold for $863,750.

Jar

Lot 818, blue and white jar with tigers, Joseon Dynasty (19th Century), 12 inches high

Lot 818 is a nice blue and white jar with tigers from the Joseon Dynasty (19th Century).  It is 12 inches high.  It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  It sold for $939,750!

Brush holder

Lot 825, blue and white brush holder, Joseon Dynasty (late 18th-19th Century), 4 3/8 inches high

Lot 825, a blue and white brush holder from the Joseon Dynasty (late 18th-19th Century) is the back-cover  illustration of the catalogue.  It is 4 3/8 inches high.  It has an estimate of $150,000 to $180,000.  It failed to sell.

Early spring

Lot 540, "Early Spring," fan mounted on hanging scroll, by Sakai Hoitsu, 5 3/4 by 28 7/8 inches

One of the loveliest and almost abstract fans  in the auction is Lot 540, "Early Spring," by Sakai Hoitsu (1761-1828).  It measures 5 3/4 by 28 7/8 inches.  It has an estimate of $5,000 to $7,000.  It failed to sell.

Painting by Nam Kwan

Lot 838, untitled, by Nam Kwan, oil  on canvas, 19 11/16 by 23 5/8 inches

Lot 838 is a good untitled abstraction oil on canvas  by Nam Kwan (1911-1990).  It measures 19 11/16 by 23 5/8 inches.  It has an estimate of $15,000 to $18,000.  It failed to sell.

See The City Review article on the Fall 2012 Japanese Art auction at Christie's New York

See The City Review article on the Spring 2012 Japanese Art auction at Christie's New York

See The City Review article on the Fall 2011 Japanese Art auction at Christie's New York

See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Japanese Art auction at Christie's New York


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