Rare Japanese cloisonne vase exceeds estimate by 262%


The Christie's sale of imperial Japanese art was highlighted by a rare cloisonné vase, which made an impressive 262% increase on estimate on May 18.  

Hayashi Chuzo Japanese cloisonné vase
Hayashi Chuzo cloisonné vase

The London auction came at the end of a week of important Japanese sales, which saw a new record set for Shibata Zeshin inro at Bonhams. The auctioneer followed this success with yet another Japanese sale on May 17. For more results from the Bonhams sales, click here.

Japanese cloisonné enamel works provided the top lots of the Christie's sale, with the magnificent vase bringing the highest bids.

The octagonal vase, which bore the mark of the Hayashi Chuzo workshop of Japan's Meiji period (late 19th century), was decorated with an intricate eagle and maple tree design. The spectacular piece went to auction with an estimate of £40,000-60,000, achieving a final sale price of £217,125 ($341,169).

Sharing the vase's sale price was a lavish bell-shaped vessel, attributed to the Namikawa Yasuyuki workshop, also of the Meiji period. Featuring an elaborate dragon and ho-o bird design, also in Japanese cloisonné enamel, the piece achieved an identical price to the vase, against an estimate of £180,000-250,000.

An auspiciously dated tiger sculpture, signed by Isshousai Katsutoshi Zo, also achieved strong results. Dated Taisho Gannen Hachigatsu Kichijitsu from August 1912, the piece saw the third highest bids in the sale at £181,250 ($285,469).

The week's successes could spark a further resurgence for the Japanese art market, with Yayoi Kusama, one of the world's most valuable female artists, currently exhibiting at Sotheby's new Hong Kong gallery.

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