Steve Sly Japanese Works of Art Exhibition Catalogue Autumn 2023
There is little doubt that the finest Japanese works of art destined for national and international expositions during the mid to latter years of that magical Meiji period (1868-1912), literally wowed the audience as well as propelling the artisans of the previously isolated group of islands that make up Japan, onto the world stage.
Indeed, a century and a half later Japanese art aficionados and avid collectors continue to be captivated as market fresh pieces surface from old collections, museum archives and auction houses around the globe, albeit at a much slower pace than in decades past.
This small selection demonstrates this continuing phenomenon. From the miniature gold wired cloisonne enamel scent bottle at plate 1, manufactured by arguably the greatest enamellist of the period, the Imperial artist Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927), recently discovered in a USA collection, to the majestic bronze hawk okimono at plate 9, chiselled by the well recorded metal carving master, Sano Takachika, that recently arrived from a European collection.
Onto the showstopper at plate 7, the remarkable monumental scale elephant and tiger okimono, once again crafted by Takachika. This dramatic sculpture has resided on display in the main hall of a Dutch Museum for over 50 years where it survived Nazi occupation, it is subsequently bought to market for the first time in almost a century of Dutch family ownership.
I hope that you enjoy this hand-picked selection of just some of my favourite finds of 2023 as much as I have enjoyed the thrill of sourcing, researching and presenting them to you.