Exceptional California Estate and 20th C. Decorative Arts Highlight Bonhams New York Japanese Auction

. February 19, 2010

Collectors of fine Japanese furniture and decorative arts are eagerly awaiting the March 25th sale to be mounted at Bonhams, New York. Consisting of over just over 300 lots, the sale is comprised of early 20th-century Decorative Arts, 18th and 19th-century netsuke and inro, and 18th and 19th-century armor.

Cause for excitement are inro, lacquer and netsuke from the estate of David Swedlow. Swedlow revolutionized the airline industry by creating the plastic still used today for windows on commercial aircraft. The group boasts a number of notable and rare pieces. Standing out amongst these is a 19th century four-case blue-lacquer inro, decorated with two playful puppies in gold and silver hiramakie. Signed ‘Chikanori’ the lot carries an estimate of $10,000-15,000.

Also of great interest from the Swedlow collection is a fine gold lacquer, late 19th century kodansu (pictured). Attributed to Koma Nagafusa the small, rectangular storage box features a continuous design from the “First Warbler” chapter from the Tale of Genji. Decorated with inlaid plum blossoms and a stream rendered in silver and gold, the doors open to reveal drawers decorated with lozenge designs and silver hardware carved with scrolling vines. Estimated at $15,000-25,000 the exquisitely detailed piece represents an excellent collecting opportunity.

Additionally the collection includes a charming 19th century, five case gold lacquer inro by Toryusai. Decorated with the final scene from a well-known Japanese children’s story, it features a badger and hare dueling in boats rendered in gold, silver, red, brown and black togidashi and enashiji and kirigane highlights. Signed Gyonen hachiju Toryusai and fitted with an ivory hare ojime and an ivory netsuke of a hare holding a large ball the lot is expected to fetch $15,000-20,000.

The sale also offers an exceptional selection of early 20th century Decorative Arts lots. Art Deco drew heavily from this era of Japanese design, apparent in the chic look of the lots offered here. Exemplary of this is a two-panel screen depicting “beauty and dog” (pictured, left) which is estimated at $5,000-7,000 and a lacquer, standing screen or tsuitate featuring a rabbit which is estimated at $3,000-5,000.

Another lot from this period sure to draw notice is a late 19th-early 20th century, silver model of an Ox cart made by Soko for the Mitsukoshi department store, which is still in existence today. Cast, cold-chiseled, hammered and assembled in the form of a carriage used by Heian-period court nobles it features an elaborately carved phoenix on the roof and interiors of green velvet. Presented with a wood padded storage box with a Mitsukoshi label on the interior the impressive piece is estimated at $40,000-60,000.

A group of 18th century suits of armor are certain to attract bidder attention. Consisting of eights suits of armor, perhaps the most sought after will be an excellent Russet-iron armor. Presented with a Yoshimichi-style helmet and featuring Shoki the Demon Queller in repousse on the breastplate and an oni maedate on the helmet, with Fudo on the sleeves, the striking lot is estimated at $65,000-75,000.

Also luring collectors will be a group of outstanding bamboo baskets.

Of particular interest will be a c.1910, signed oval-shaped basket constructed of loosely woven banded branches with a low handle. Made by Tanabe Chiku’unsai (1887-1937) it is inscribed Fukuumi, hanakago “Auspicious Sea, Flower basket” and Karaitoami “Chinese thread weaving”. Signed Tekisuikyo, Chiku’unsai tsukuru and sealed Tanabe no in, Chiku’unsai it carries an estimate of $2,000-3,500. The sale will be on view at Bonhams New York starting March 20th until the day of the auction which takes place on March 25 at 1PM EST. The illustrated auction catalog for the sale will be online at www.bonhams.com/us in the weeks preceding the preview and auction.

For more information about the department, please visit www.bonhams.com/usasian.

Category: Auction News

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