Japanese Works of Art

The arts and antiques of Japan have been collected in the West ever since the country reopened its doors to trade with foreigners in the 1853. 

Japanese art spans early wood sculpture dating back to the Momoyama period and prized early porcelain from the Nabeshima or Kakiemon kilns. However many of the collectable categories of Japanese art date from the Meiji period (1868-1912) such as miniatures like netsuke and inro, metalwares, bronze sculptures, armour, swords and sword fittings such as tsuba.


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Woodblock print sails in to south London

18 October 2021

This Katsushika Hokusai woodblock print from the series Hyakunin isshu uba ga enoki (The Hundred Poems as Told by the Nurse) is titled Poem by Fujiwara No Toshiyuki Ason.

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Netsuke makes a stand

18 October 2021

This 7½in (19cm) Japanese wood netsuke shows the standing figure of Ashinaga with his arms outstretched.

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Trading places: Japanese lacquer cabinet made for the Western market

18 October 2021

This 17th century Japanese lacquer cabinet was made for the Western market, c.1680.

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Japanese auctions trio to be staged by Sotheby's

18 October 2021

Sotheby’s will hold three online sales of Japanese works of art that run from October 22 and close from November 2-5.

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Eastern promise: Asian Art in London award nominees announced

18 October 2021

The awards shortlist for Asian Art in London’s East Asian art season have been announced.

Meiji Period Iron Incense Burner

Incense burner topped by a dog and ball

18 October 2021

This Meiji period iron incense burner from Japan was made using nunome zogan: the art of inlaying different metals into one another.

AUCTION PREVIEWS: highlights from November UK sales of Chinese, Japanese and south-east Asian works of art

18 October 2021

Once again the UK auction market gears up for the biggest of its two annual Asian art seasons.

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Lectern took musical inspiration

18 October 2021

The November 4 Japanese sale at Bonhams includes, estimated at £7000-8000, this Meiji (1868-1912) or Taisho (1912-26) era lacquer kendai (lectern) fashioned in the form of traditional court music and dance implements.

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The lure of Japan for Mortimer Menpes

13 September 2021

Mortimer Menpes (1855-1938), who painted this portrait titled 'The Yellow Parasol' visited Japan in the 1880s and 1890s.

A fine Japanese writing box and cover

Something to write home about

13 September 2021

A fine Japanese lacquer suzuribako (writing box and cover) is signed by the Edo-Meijii period lacquer artist Koma Kyuhaku.

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Animal magic as Japanese works bring demand at Woolley & Wallis

06 September 2021

This iron model of a hawk above is a striking example of a jizai okimono – lifelike, articulated animal figures popular in the last decades of Edo-period and Meiji Japan.

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Cover star with substance to follow at North Yorkshire summer auction

23 August 2021

Front page pair of £68,000 candelabra headed a varied auction with plenty of highlights

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Japanese cabinet for the export market emerges at Christie’s New York

21 June 2021

Christie’s New York rooms is holding an online sale titled Treasures of a Storied Manhattan Collection open for bidding from June 15-July 1.

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Satsuma bowl sold by Blow

03 May 2021

The May 11-14 auction at Adam Partridge will feature the last 40 lots of Meiji period Satsuma from a noted Worcestershire collection.

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Russian ambassador’s Japanese swords

03 May 2021

On May 18 Paris auction firm Tessier Sarrou is selling the first part of a collection of Japanese swords.

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The web shop window: a ‘tour de force’ of Meiji craftsmanship

19 April 2021

Thousands of items are available to buy from dealers online. Here we pick out one that caught our eye this week.

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Rutherston eases market woes

29 March 2021

Trading with EU member states has become more difficult and expensive since the UK left the European Union, but one dealer may have found a way to avoid the bureaucratic hurdles.

Ivory monkey

Police probe provenance of Meiji ivories

08 March 2021

Police are investigating the provenance of a collection of Japanese ivories in connection with a high-value burglary in Surrey.

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True blue: Hokusai uncovered

08 February 2021

Although catalogued as ‘a 19th century Japanese woodblock print’, the signature to a scene of a boat with Mount Fuji beyond gave a clue to its creator.

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Bone up on Japanese woodblocks

02 November 2020

On November 18 Van Ham in Cologne will hold a Decorative Art auction which will include several more items from the collection of Thomas Olbricht.

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