AN INQUIRING MIND: AMERICAN COLLECTING OF JAPANESE AND KOREAN ART At Christie’s in April 2015

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • April 15, 2015

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An impressive iron articulated model of a dragon, Edo period (18th - 19th century), signed Myochin Nobuie and kao (cursive monogram). Estimate: $300,000 – 400,000
Christie's Images, Ltd. 2015
Attributed to Hasegawa Tohaku (1539-1610), Willows and Uji River, each sealed Tohaku, pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, gold, silver and gold leaf on paper. Estimate: $600,000 – 800,000
Christie's Images, Ltd. 2015
A red-laced armor with two-piece cuirass (Aka-odoshi Nimai-do gusoku) together with saddle and accessories Edo period (18th century) Estimate: $180,000-220,000
Christie's Images, Ltd. 2015

New York – On April 22, Christie's will offer An Inquiring Mind: American Collecting of Japanese and Korean Art, a selection of 130 works mainly from illustrious private and public collections. This rich and varied sale, with estimates ranging from $1,500 up to $600,000 includes works of antiquity, screens, paintings, ceramics, prints and sculpture. Leading the sale is a pair of recently discovered screens attributed to Hasegawa Tohaku—one of the most influential artists from the Momoyama period. The pre-sale exhibition at Christie’s New York begins from 18 to 21 April.

The Japanese section will feature Willows and Uji River, a pair of screens attributed to Hasegawa Tohaku (1539-1610), whose seals appear on this pair of screens (estimate: $600,000-800,000). One of the great painters of the Momoyama period, his patrons were the wealthy temples and mighty warlords controlling Kyoto. Scholars point out that the effect this pair with its shimmering gold leaf must have illuminated a darkened castle interior.

Among the armor collection, the most extravagant of Edo-period daimyo armors is a red-laced armor with two-piece cuirass (aka-odoshi nimai-do gusoku) together with saddle and accessories, 18th century (estimate: $180,000-220,000). This piece has the highest quality red-laced components and rich metalwork of sculpted silver fittings. It is rare for an armor to be accompanied by so many fine accessories, including the highest quality armor surcoat (jinbaori). The saddle and horse trimmings are also of finest quality and together with the armor evoke a vision of councilors riding in procession with hundreds or perhaps even thousands of retainers to and from Edo Castle.

 

The Korean portion of the sale is highlighted by a rare hanging scroll of Gathering of Low-ranking Officials in the Five Bureaus, (estimate: $300,000-400,000) from the first half 16th century, recently discovered in a Japanese collection; an eight-panel screen of Orchid and Rocks by Mongha Geosa (19th century) (estimate: $30,000-40,000), reputedly formally in the collection of the last Empress, Sungjeong Yoon (1894-1966); and a small gilt-bronze container from the Unified Silla-Goryeo dynasty (10th century) (estimate: $5,000-7,000).


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