Ancient Japanese Dogu figurine achieves 1,000% increase on estimate

An ancient Japanese Dogu figurine has sold for £1m ($1.5m) at Sotheby's London, exceeding an estimate of £90,000 ($141,619) by 1,011%.

It headlined the Soul of Japanese Aesthetics sale on May 13.

Sothebys Dogu Japan
The Dogu was probably used in fertility rites

The piece was made on Honshu (the Japanese mainland) around 2,800 years ago. This ancient time is known as the Jomon period. Examples of Dogu have been discovered as far back as 12,000 BC.

Robert Bradlow of Sotheby's commented: "It is not totally clear why it was made but it could be a fertility symbol. There are very few in existence and there was a lot of interest in the room and on the telephone.

"From memory, there may not have been another one like this sold so they are very difficult to value. It has a long exhibition history and good provenance. The buyer is a private collector from Japan."

The lot was part of a major collection of Japanese works of art acquired by Tsuneichi Inoue.

A rare blue and white facetted vase bearing a mark of the Xuande period (1425-1435) provided the lead lot, achieving £3.8m ($6m) against a £250,000 ($391,825) estimate.

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