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A case sealed at £100,000

16 May 2011Written by ATG Reporter

CHINESE works of art dominated this month's Asian sales series in London but among the most successful auctions last week was Bonhams' dispersal of the second part of the Edward Wrangham (1928-2009) collection.

The Northumberland estate farmer, instrumental in the creation of Kielder Water, amassed one of the West's finest private collections of Japanese sword fittings, inro and netsuke.

As at the equivalent event in November 2010, the top prices on May 10 were for Meiji period inro from the workshop of Shibata Zeshin (1868-1912), Wrangham's favourite artist.

The top lot was the two-case inro, pictured here, lacquered with metalwork tools in gold, silver and black, with a folkloric deity called Hotei lightly engraved behind the principal lacquer. Exceeding its £10,000-15,000 estimate, it sold in the room at £100,000.

Inro (literally meaning sealed case) were used to carry small objects such as seals, tobacco and medicines and were worn suspended from the obi, or kimono sash.

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ATG Reporter

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