Kabuki actor's case from 'finest Japanese collection' could bring $49,000

An extremely rare early 20th century, roiro lacquer four-case inro by Shirayama Shosai (1853-1923) is one of the top lots at the second sale of Bonhams' Edward Wrangham Collection on May 10.

Works by Shirayama Shosai, one the most important lacquer artists of the time, are very rare and highly sought after.

Finely lacquered in gold, the traditional Japanese case depicts a full-length portrait of the kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX, a contemporary of the artist. Estimated to sell for £20,000 - 30,000, it is sure to attract investors.

The first sale realised over £2m and included a world auction record price for an inro.

Ichikawa Danjuro IX was one of the most famous kabuki actors of the day

Considered one of Europe's most important and comprehensive private collections of Japanese accessories, it was formed by the late environmentalist, mountaineer, scholar and collector Edward Wrangham OBE.

A further highlight of the event is a roiro lacquer five-case inro by the renowned lacquer artist Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), estimated at £20,000-25,000. Decorated in gold, silver and black, it is estimated to sell for £20,000-25,000.


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