Welcome to December and remarkably our final newsletter of the year, Wow where did that year go? They say time flies as you get older, well only last week I passed a pivotal milestone, apparently it was the new 50.
As you will know I spent the first half of November on a much-anticipated business trip to Japan. It was a leap into the unknown that turned into a most amazing tour, a journey filled with incredible sights, many educational trips to shrines, temples and museums as well as multiple galleries and even an outdoor antique show in 23 degrees, unprecedented weather for Autumn according to the English speaking locals I conversed with, the climate is certainly changing.
There were just so many breathtaking highlights to pick out, the immediate feeling of cleanliness, the politeness of the Japanese people, the stunning scenery, the perfectly functional transport systems in cities of millions were quite remarkable, and of course the amazing fresh food.
During my travels I was fortunate enough to find a few great market fresh items that should arrive in time for Christmas, I very much look forward to sharing these pieces with you in the new year.
In overall summary I left feeling that I still have so much ground to cover and that I simply cannot wait to get back. Just a few images below which include the Emperor Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, that was inspirational for me in particular, the Golden Temple in Kyoto, the Niji Castle also in Kyoto and the Carp swimming in the tranquil garden of the Namikawa museum, it was difficult to imagine the many masterpieces of cloisonne enamel emanating from such a modest building, it really put into perspective how tough these artisans lives were.
Whilst away from my home hub the business had continued to operate, albeit at a slower pace and in a different time zone than usual. Just some highlighted sales last month included the charming bronze okimono of a striding elephant by the Maruki company finding its way to a new home in France.
The group of Tsuba from a single owner collection now safely in the hands of a UK based specialist collector.
And this most unusual Komai panel depicting silk production that featured in our Autumn exhibition catalogue at plate 15, has now found its way to a collector of high-quality metalwork.
Thank you to all the above clients for their valuable business in what are clearly turbulent times.
The highlights from 2023 are just too many to mention, it’s probably reasonable to suggest that I love almost every piece that I buy and sell, but certain pieces leave me feeling very emotionally attached, sounds silly perhaps, but many of you will understand exactly what I am trying to describe, the best of these works of art simply get “under your skin”.
Some of my personal favourite sold items this year include the ridiculously comical lacquer man at plate 5 of my current Autumn catalogue, sat smoking his pipe whilst functioning as an incense burner, he was great fun to own. The pair of cloisonne enamel vases displaying the rare subject of an owl on one vase gazing into the moonlight on the other. Manufactured by the Ando Company these featured in our Masterpiece catalogue and were difficult to part with. But probably my favourite piece this year was the damascened iron vase by Kajima Ikkoku IIthat I sold way back in the Winter to a valued USA client. In your hands this vase was simply a breathtaking tour de force of nunomezogan work that will be virtually impossible to replace.
As always without the continued support of my worldwide database of clients none of this would be possible. My life is spent sourcing these great works of art, to have brief ownership and be able to pass them on to equally passionate individuals is such a joy. I do recognise the immense trust placed in my hands particularly with many of these higher value sales and never take anything for granted.
I have chosen to list a rather unique cloisonne enamel box as this month’s featured item, never have I seen anything quite like the decoration on this box, it has a very special feel with silk lining, shakudo rims and such a contemporary look, possibly not one to pass up if you collect enamels or even just boxes, please do take a look by clicking the image above.
Wherever you are in the world do have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to catching up in the new year.