Ike no Taiga scroll valued at $150,000

A scroll by 18th century Japanese artist and calligrapher Ike Taiga is to auction at Bonhams.

The piece, titled The Universe in a Jar (1755), is valued at $100,000-150,000 ahead of the New York auction on September 15.

Ike Taiga scroll
Ike no Taiga was an important Japanese artist

The scroll is illustrated with a Chinese academic climbing into a jar and was inspired by an old Chinese folk tale.

It reads, in translation:

"He can swim down to the bed of the sacred torrent.

"Why would he want to climb a ladder to the clouds?"

Taiga (1723-1776) was a key figure in the development of nanga art in Japan, which drew inspiration from Chinese art and culture.

Bonhams explains: "The present scroll dates from a formative period of Taiga's career during which, as [Japanese art expert] Felice Fischer tells us, the artist 'was engaged in a dialectic with various modes of painting and calligraphy, modes of Zen, and modes of poetry.'

"In 1751 he first met the great Rinzai Zen master Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1768) who exposed Taiga to a different style of Zen than that practiced at Manpukuji Temple at Uji near Kyoto, where Taiga had spent much time earlier in his life."

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