These detailed pictorial weavings were shown at a series of high-profile international exhibitions: the Third National Industrial Exhibition in Tokyo 1881; the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1899; the National Industrial Exposition in 1903, and the St Louis Exposition in 1904.
The Nishimura firm (now trading as Chiso) provided an order of 24 pieces of embroidery to the imperial household and was awarded with the Order of the Green Cordon and the 6th Order of the Sacred Treasure.
Single panels of Nishimura needlework occasionally appear for sale but this more expansive piece, a four-panel folding screen depicting captive birds of prey against a royal blue ground, is typical of the sort of pieces that would have been on the firm’s exhibition stand. It is signed to the wood and lacquer frame in gilt with characters that translate as ‘Empire of Japan Kyoto Nishimura Sozaemon Products’.
It came for sale at Rowley Fine Art (22.5% buyer’s premium) in Ely on March 12 in decent if tired condition, with a guide of £1000-1500, but took £11,000 via thesaleroom.com.