Rare Ho-o bird vessel to bring $398,750 at Christie's Japan auction?

Christie's Artistic Craftsmanship of Imperial Japan auction will be highlighted by a spectacular and rare vessel, featuring the legendary Ho-o bird.


Japanese vessel cloisonné
This auspicious vessel could boost the fortunes of the Japanese market

The fine piece will feature as top lot in the Christie's sale, which is to be held tomorrow (May 18), following a week of successful Japanese sales at major auction houses.

The rare vessel, which has been attributed to the Namikawa Yasuyuki workshop, originates from Japan's Meiji period in the late 19th century. Shaped in the form of a temple bell, the piece is decorated with Ho-o birds.

The Ho-o bird features prominently in Japanese and Chinese mythology as a type of phoenix, representing the beginning of a new era or the birth of a virtuous ruler. The Meiji period, meaning "enlightened rule", saw a new government formed and a time of great change for Japan.  

The Japanese art market is currently expecting a transition of its own, following a difficult year in 2011.

The lavish cloisonné artwork will go to auction with an estimate of £180,000-250,000 ($287,100-398,750).

The sale will be followed by a very large bronze sculpture of a tiger, which is expected to bring £150,000-250,000 ($239,250-398,750). Measuring over a metre in length and 95cm high, the piece is expected to draw huge bids from Japanese bidders, having been dated Taisho Gannen Hachigatsu Kichijitsu, an auspicious day in August 1912.

The Christie's sale comes just three days after Bonhams' sale of the Edward Wrangham collection on May 15, where a Japanese inro set a new world record, selling for £301,250 ($476,697). Bonhams will follow this success with another Japanese sale today (May 17).

Paul Fraser Collectibles will be bringing you all the results of these sales, so make sure you check back regularly.

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