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Asian art

From India to Japan by way of China, Korea and the countries of south-east asia, asian art auctions provide a vast range of far eastern art.
Sculptures, paintings and objets d’art dating from the neolithic period to the present day can be found in online sales.
Particularly treasures from the middle kingdom. These include ceramics from china's tang and song dynasties, blue and white porcelain from the yuan, ming and qing dynasties, paintings from the tang dynasty, horses from the han and tang dynasties and a wealth of scholars' objects.
In asian art auctions, enthusiasts will also find buddhist gilt bronzes, japanese prints and lacquer objects, indian statuettes in bronze, korean ceramics and more.
Did you know? Boosted by the rapid emergence of major fortunes in china, asian art has been steadily on the rise since 2005, and the passion for things asian has galvanised the bidding from hong kong to paris.
For example, at the hôtel drouot in december 2016, a chinese imperial seal from the qianlong period (1736-1795), estimated at between €800,000 and €1 million, soared up to €21 boosted by the rapid emergence of major fortunes in million: a world record!


Recommended lots

MYOCHIN MUNEKAZU: A SUPERB IRON ARTICULATED MODEL OF A SNAKE - MYOCHIN MUNEKAZU: A SUPERB IRON ARTICULATED MODEL OF A SNAKE By Myochin Munekazu, signed Munekazu Japan, late 19th century, Meiji period (1868-1912) The patinated russet iron snake constructed of close-fitting hammered plates joined inside the body, the head chased and engraved with scales and fitted with a hinged jaw opening to reveal the tongue and two rows of teeth, the eyes gilt, signed MUNEKAZU under the snake's chin. LENGTH 135.5 cm WEIGHT 578 g Condition: Excellent condition with only minor surface wear. Provenance: European collection. The art of creating lifelike figures of animals in metal, known as jizai okimono, which developed during the Edo period, is an example of outstanding Japanese craftsmanship. Meticulously constructed with hammered plates of iron, these articulated figures were greatly sought after for decorative use. They were placed in alcoves alongside pieces of porcelain, pottery and hanging scrolls, and were the object of entertainment and discussion. Popular subjects for jizai okimono included insects, fish, crustaceans, and even dragons. This venomous snake is an outstanding example of such objects and was made by the famous Myochin family workshop, renowned for its production of Samurai armor, especially helmets and highly decorative embossed plate iron cuirasses. With its fearsome glowing gilt eyes, its ferocious and sharp teeth, and its rows of intricately assembled scales, it confronts the viewer face on, ready to attack. The naturalistic quality of this piece is astonishing. The present snake is signed Munekazu, the art name of Tomiki Isuke I (1853-1894) who tutored Kozan in Kyoto. Literature comparison: A closely related but earlier articulated iron snake by Myochin Munenobu, dated to the mid-18th century, is in the collection of the Victoria &Albert Museum, accession number M.38-1947, and another most likely later example by Myochin Muneyoshi is in the collection of the British Museum, museum number HG.207. Auction comparison: Compare a closely related but slightly longer snake (165 cm long) by the same maker at Christie's, Asobi: Ingenious Creativity, Japanese Works of Art from Antiquity to Contemporary, 15 October 2014, London, lot 75 ( sold for 98,500 GBP ), and another (162.9 cm long) by Muneyoshi (Tanaka Tadayoshi, d. 1958) at Christie's, Japanese and Korean Art, 18 April 2018, New York, lot 111 ( sold for 250,000 USD ).

Estim. 60,000 - 120,000 EUR

JUGYOKU: AN IMPORTANT AND MASTERFUL WOOD NETSUKE OF THE FEMALE GHOST OIWA WITH CHILD, COMMISSIONED FOR THE FAMOUS KABUKI ACTOR ONOE BAIKO - JUGYOKU: AN IMPORTANT AND MASTERFUL WOOD NETSUKE OF THE FEMALE GHOST OIWA WITH CHILD, COMMISSIONED FOR THE FAMOUS KABUKI ACTOR ONOE BAIKO By Ryukosai Jugyoku, signed Jugyoku saku and with inscription Japan, Edo (Tokyo), c. 1830, Edo period (1615-1868) Superbly carved as the ghost Oiwa-san emerging from ghastly flames, her body twisting and robes flowing. Her bony fingers are finely shaped, one hand is cradling an infant which is nestled into her loose-fitted robe, gently pressed against her stomach, one of the baby's hands grabbing one of her breasts. Note the subtly incised rib cage and neck bones. Oiwa is looking at the child with motherly compassion, the infant in return looks up at the ghost yearningly. The superbly carved backside shows neatly incised trailing hair and a grave post (sotoba) engulfed by more ghastly flames and the minutely incised inscription as well as the signature JUGYOKU saku [made by Jugyoku]. The inscription reads: 梅幸丈好應、寿玉作 "Baiko-jo konomi ni ojite, Jugyoku saku" [Made by Jugyoku by the request of Master Onoe Baiko" The word "Jo 丈" is an honorific suffix given to Kabuki actors. According to the inscription in the back, this netsuke was commissioned by the famous Kabuki actor Onoe Baiko - there are many generations of the same name but it most likely refers to Onoe Kikugoro III (active as Baiko III) . This netsuke depicts a legendary and controversial scene in the fifth and final act of the famous kabuki play Yotsuya Kaidan by Tsuruya Nanboku IV. In this scene, Oiwa emerges in the form of an Ubume from a consecration cloth, holding her child in her arms. An Ubume is a type of ghost associated with pregnancy and childbirth. Depicting Oiwa as an Ubume was considered highly audacious, because Oiwa had murdered her own child. With depictions of ubume being ubiquitous at the time, the unusual twist had an immense impact on the audience, and it ultimately defined the stardom of Onoe Kikugorō III (1784-1849), who was the only actor ever to play Oiwa in it. The scene was dropped after the first production in 1825 amid fierce debate and replaced with a special effect in which Oiwa emerges from a burning lantern. For further reading on the cultural significance of this scene see Shimazaki, Satoko (2011) The End of the "World": Tsuruya Nanboku IV's Female Ghosts and Late-Tokugawa Kabuki . HEIGHT 7.8 cm Condition: Excellent condition. Provenance: From a noted Swiss private collection. Tsuruya Nanboku IV, the playwright of the famous Yotsuya Kaidan, wrote the role of Oiwa specifically for his friend Onoe Kikugoro III (Baiko III), who played the lead role during this famous kabuki play's debut in 1825. It is most likely that this netsuke was commissioned both as a as a talisman (engimono 縁起物), because kabuki actors playing ghosts-roles were thought to be haunted and accident-prone, and as a commemorative gift to remind of the legendary scene in the fifth and final act which had only been performed in the introducing season of the play. Onoe Kikugoro III (1784-1849) was one of the most talented actors of his age. He was adopted into the Onoe lineage of actors and made his debut at the age of four under the name Onoe Eisaburo I. After playing the parts of young men, he assumed the name of his adoptive father in 1809, becoming Onoe Matsusuke II. In 1814 he appeared as Onoe Baiko, and a year later his reputation was such that he became the first actor for almost 30 years to succeed to the Kikugoro name, becoming Onoe Kikugoro III, although he retained the name Baiko to sign his poetry. He is best remembered for his alliance with the playwright Tsuruya Nanboku IV, who in 1825 wrote the role of Oiwa in Yotsuya Kaidan, the best known of all Kabuki ghost plays, specifically for him. Yotsuya Kaidan , the story of Oiwa and Tamiya Iemon, is a tale of betrayal, murder and ghostly revenge. Arguably the most famous Japanese ghost story of all time, it has been adapted for film over 30 times and continues to be of a major influence on Japanese horror stories of the present day. Ryukosai Jugyoku, the carver of this netsuke, was likely provided with an immense challenge, given the notorious prominence of this specific depiction of Oiwa. A generous commission, and being able to work for one of the biggest kabuki-stars of all times, must have had a stimulating effect on the artist. Arguably, he eventually surpassed himself with the present work, which certainly must be considered as this carver's masterpiece. Not only is the present lot exemplary of the very finest carvings of its era, and by one of its most talented artists, but the absolutely unique historic angle , confirm

Estim. 15,000 - 30,000 EUR

OSHIMA JOUN: A SUPERB AND LARGE BRONZE KORO AND COVER WITH MYTHICAL BEASTS AND SHISHIMAI MONKEYS - OSHIMA JOUN: A SUPERB AND LARGE BRONZE KORO AND COVER WITH MYTHICAL BEASTS AND SHISHIMAI MONKEYS By Oshima Joun (1858-1940), signed Ichijoken Joun with kakihan Japan, c. 1900, Meiji period (1868-1912) The baluster body supported on four feet cast in the form of fierce dragons with tamas in their mouths, cast with a minogame, kirin, and ho-o bird amid scrolling clouds against a diapered ground, the shoulder with two loop handles similarly cast with clouds and dragons against a key-fret ground, the cover similarly cast with a key-fret band above clouds against a diapered ground and surmounted by a group of monkeys with a shishimai mask, one monkey wearing a hyottoko mask. Signed ICHIJOKEN JOUN with a kakihan to the base. HEIGHT 47 cm WEIGHT 10.7 kg Condition: Good condition with minor wear and casting flaws, minuscule nicks, light scratches. Provenance: From an old southern German private collection, assembled before 2007. Oshima Joun (1858-1940) was a professor at Tokyo School of Art from 1887 until 1932 and is regarded as one of the most celebrated bronze-casters of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He exhibited at several of the great international expositions of the era, including Paris (1900), St. Louis (1904) and London (1910). Auction comparison: Compare a related bronze censer by Oshima Joun, signed Ichijoken Joun and with kakihan, dated c. 1900, 55.8 cm high, at Christie's, Japanese &Korean Art, 24 March 2010, New York, lot 540 ( sold for 35,000 USD ).

Estim. 4,000 - 8,000 EUR

NORITSUGU: A RARE SILVER AND MIXED-METAL NETSUKE OF A KABUTO - NORITSUGU: A RARE SILVER AND MIXED-METAL NETSUKE OF A KABUTO By Noritsugu, signed Noritsugu Japan, 19th century, Edo period (1615-1868) The netsuke cast in the form of a kabuto (helmet), the rounded bowl overlaid with silver ridges and surmounted by a tehen kanamono in the form of a chrysanthemum, a fitting at the front for the maedate (forecrest), the himotoshi also in the form of chrysanthemum to the underside and the signature NORITSUGU within an oval reserve. LENGTH 4.3 cm Condition: Very good condition, minor surface wear. Provenance: Ex-collection Richard R. Silverman, purchased from Midori Gallery (Sachi Wagner) in 1994. Richard R. Silverman (1932-2019) was a renowned Asian art collector with one of the largest private collections of netsuke outside of Japan. He lived in Tokyo between 1964 and 1979 and began to collect netsuke there in 1968. Since the 1970s, he wrote and lectured about netsuke and was an Asian art consultant for Christie's, Sotheby's, and Bonhams. His gift of 226 ceramic netsuke to the Toledo Museum of Art constitutes perhaps the largest public collection of these miniature clay sculptures in the world. After moving to California, Silverman became a member of the Far Eastern Art Council at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1984. In 1993, he joined LACMA's Executive Board. He served on the board of directors for the International Society of Appraisers from 1986 to 1994 and served nine years as chair for the City of West Hollywood Fine Arts Commission. Richard Silverman was posthumously awarded the Order of the Rising Sun for his decades-long promotion of Japanese culture.

Estim. 600 - 1,200 EUR