Meiji Mixed Metalwork Auctioned At Bonhams Fine Japanese Sale

Two private collections of Meiji period works of art were the focus of nearly 300 bidders from more than two dozen countries, with representation from Asia, Europe, and the United States. Attendees filled the saleroom, with international bids coming through on the telephones and live online.

The greatest attention was paid to mixed-metal objects such as an impressive pair of Miyao bronze candelabra modeled as a pair of Samurai which fetched $43,750. Finely cast, the two elaborately robed warriors were designed to hold aloft a candelabrum and finished in a rich brown patina and exquisite gilt details.

Another pair of parcel-gilt bronze warrior figures, also by Miyao, more than tripled their estimate, reaching $37,500 after a fierce bidding war. And finally a bronze Oni figure, also from the Miyao workshop, achieved $35,000. The repentant demon was finely cast in priest’s robes, chanting a Buddhist prayer and carrying a donations ledger.

“Works by Miyao Eisuke and his contemporaries are still hotly contested at auction. These pieces perfectly illustrate the great attention to detail and the highest levels of craftsmanship that embodied the best examples of Meiji-period objects. Sculptors and metal workers, who for generations perfected their techniques in Samurai sword-fitting studios, combined their uncanny precision with a Japanese design sense. They produced some of the most enduring objects that to this day capture the imagination of Western collectors.” said Jeff Olson, Director of the Japanese department at Bonhams New York.

Additional metalwork highlights in the sale included a large and impressive Imperial presentation bowl by Hirata Shigemitsu VII circa 1906, which realized $36,250; and a fine silver Meiji period presentation vase by the Kobayashi Company that tripled its estimate, selling for $33,750.

Bonhams next Fine Japanese Works of Art sale in New York will take place in September.

For more information please visit www.bonhams.com

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