Japanese Shibata Zeshin inro brings $125,278 at Bonhams


Another Shibata Zeshin inro was sold at Bonhams yesterday (May 17) in its Fine Japanese Art sale in London.

Japanese Shibata Zeshin Inro
This inro is a sound investment judging by previous sales

The auction follows the record-breaking £301,250 sale of an inro designed by Zeshin on May 15 at Bonhams.

Shibata Zeshin is considered a master artist of Japan's Meiji period, and invented the urushi-e technique of painting with lacquer. The inro featuring in yesterday's sale was a stunning example of his style, boasting three layered cases delicately painted with different blossoms.

However, this inro fared less well than the new record holder, despite having a more complex design and a much higher pre-sale estimate. It brought £79,250 ($125,278) against an estimate of £65,000-75,000, a 5.6% increase.

The inro, a type of case used to hold small objects, has proved itself as a popular collector's item in recent years as well as a sound investment, having enjoyed a solid run of success at auction.

Paul Fraser Collectibles offers a 120% investment guarantee on a number of our stock items, ensuring a 4% pa return.

The top lot of the sale was a striking cloisonné enamel square bowl by Ando Jubei. Featuring an edge crowded with colourful irises offset by the simple lone carp design on the interior, the magnificent work sold for $145,250 ($229,583).

The Bonhams auction came during a week of Japanese sales from the major auction houses, which will be capped by the Christie's Artistic Craftsmanship of Imperial Japan auction today (May 18).


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