Takase Torakichi articulated carp leads Japanese art at $129,000

A magnificent silver articulated carp by Takase Torakichi is the lead lot in Bonhams' Fine Japanese Art sale on November 6 in London.


Such metalworks were created by Japan's armourers in peace time, with the small parts reminiscent of the scales of samurai armour



The masterwork was created by Torakichi, also known as Kozan, around the turn of the 20th century. Valued at £60,000-80,000 ($96,705-128,940), it is a superb example of jizai okimono - the art of articulated animals, which are popular in Japan.

Japan's famously skilled armourers adopted the art form during peace times, when demand for elaborate samurai suits of armour was low. The works became popular on the international market during the Meiji period (1868-1912), with Kozan's studio one of the main producers.

Kozan was honoured by the crown prince (soon to become Taisho emperor) in 1910, when he purchased several of his articulated insects during a visit to Kyoto.

The carp is joined in the sale by an iron insect on a bamboo leaf, which is expected to sell for between £5,000 and £8,000 ($8,058-12,894).

The auction also features a number of paintings by renowned lacquer master Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), whose works are coveted by both Japanese and western collectors today.

The paintings are complemented by Bonhams' sale of the Misumi Collection on November 5, which features an array of Zeshin's masterpieces.

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