This really does reinforce for me how lucky we are to be able to buy, sell and collect high quality Meiji period items that by todays market standards seem ridiculously undervalued, Indeed it is very unusual to find Japanese metalwork, ceramics and lacquer wares with prices in excess of £150,000, of course there are exceptions and these exceptions are highly coveted and often extremely rare pieces. Usually made by one of the Emperor Meiji’s small group of Imperial artists, artists such as Shibata Zeshin mentioned above, Shoami Katsuyoshi who excelled at metalwork, and more commonly of late Cloisonné enamels by Namikawa Yasayuki the master enamellist of the early 20th century.
Indeed many if not most of the high six figure priced pieces are known, recorded and sit in the worlds greatest collections or museums. They can generally be traced when they appear on the market, there are always exceptions however and each waking day I strive to unearth another Meiji period masterpiece.
Thankfully the art world is slowly waking up to the fact that Japanese works of art from the Meiji period are amongst the greatest artworks ever created, with Chinese buyers tentatively entering the market, many European museums now hosting exhibitions on this period, as well as Japanese museums in the major cities dedicating entire galleries to a period they had previously cast aside as “modern.” It can only be a matter of time until the penny finally drops, until that day we are privileged to be able to afford to buy, collect and cherish these masterpieces.