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.


Hiroshige hauled out of a cupboard

11 September 2023

Discovered in a cupboard in a house in the Cévennes wrapped in newspaper dated 1937 were two albums containing a series of Japanese prints by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), one of the most sought-after Japanese woodblock print artists.


5 Questions with Japanese arts specialist Malcolm Fairley

28 August 2023

Malcolm Fairley of St James’s deals in Japanese applied arts of the 19th and early 20th centuries with a focus on cloisonné enamels and metalwork.


5 Questions with Japanese prints specialist Jane Orde

19 August 2023

Jane Orde specialises in Japanese 19th and 20th century prints and most recently exhibited at Two C’s Burford Antiques Fair and is a regular at The International Birmingham Antique Arms & Militaria Fair (September 17).

Ivory netsuke

No fanfare as ivory netsuke sets a new record

10 July 2023

A new auction record for netsuke – over three times the previous high – has been set in France.


Masterful Meiji vase by Namikawa Yasuyuki offered in Sussex

03 July 2023

The June 8 sale at Toovey’s (24.5% buyer’s premium) in Washington, West Sussex included a fine example of Meiji cloisonné by Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927).

Meiji cloisonne vase by Namikawa Yasuyuki

Top-selling Japanese cloisonné vase stars in our pick of five auction highlights

16 June 2023

Our weekly selection of items that caught bidders’ eyes includes a fine example of Meiji cloisonné by Namikawa Yasuyuki that made over three times estimate in West Sussex.


Face to face with a Noh theatre mask

05 June 2023

Galerie Mingei, based on the rue Visconti in the Saint Germain des Prés area, specialises in antique and contemporary Japanese decorative arts.


Incense burner is the talk of the Toun

05 June 2023

This massive Japanese silver incense burner weighing over 641 troy oz proved to be one of the major attractions in the silver and vertu sale held by Heritage (25/20/15% buyer’s premium) on May 16.


Time for a weaving do: Asian art dealer celebrates Japanese bamboo art in latest exhibition

29 May 2023

A London exhibition highlights the intricate art form that uses Japanese bamboo.


Wooden netsuke achieve top prices at Viennese auction house

29 May 2023

Wooden examples of the art of netsuke are now the focus of collectors following ivory restrictions.


Obituary: ceramics dealer Richard Barker (1950-2023)

08 May 2023

I am very sorry to report the death of Chinese and Japanese ceramics dealer and expert Richard Barker at the age of 72.


5 Questions: export porcelain specialist Allard van Halm

08 May 2023

Allard van Halm runs van Halm & van Halm, specialising in 17th and 18th Chinese and Japanese export porcelain from his base in Portobello Road. He will be exhibiting at The Decorative Fair in Battersea from May 9-14.


Spotlight on the Tomkinson collection

01 May 2023

This special edition of A Japanese Collection (1898) by Michael Tomkinson (1841-1921) is one of the first 25 copies printed on Indian paper and is signed and dedicated by the author to his daughter Dora.


Drug jar was designed for the Western market

01 May 2023

This blue and white drug jar was made in Edo period Japan, c.1650, for the Western market.


Leafy branch with chestnuts left Tokyo in 1968

01 May 2023

This lacquer painting on lacquered paper, a study of a leafy branch with chestnuts, is signed by Shibata Zeshin (1807-91).


Japanese desk and box could be the write stuff to buy

01 May 2023

Bonhams is conducting a sale on May 18 titled Samurai Beauties and Townsmen: Japanese Art in Peace and War.


Carp with crashing waves swim into Bath auction

01 May 2023

The sale at Ma San in Bath on May 4 includes this Japanese double gourd carp vase by Makuzu Kozan (1842-1916).


Sword makers and armourers courted a new clientele after abolition of Samurai

01 May 2023

Among the most striking Japanese works of art in Chiswick Auctions’ sale is this life-size model of an eagle with wings outstretched on a gnarled branch.


Pressing engagement in Essex

01 May 2023

The oshi-e technique, meaning ‘pressed picture’, involves folding and pressing scraps of fabric, such as kimono cloth, and washi paper to create an image.


Boxwood netsuke deer among lots at Lyon & Turnbull

01 May 2023

The sale of Asian art at Lyon & Turnbull in London on May 16 includes this late Edo or Meiji period boxwood netsuke of a recumbent deer signed Masakiyo.



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