A massive imari vase with decoration of the Genroku era of bijin (a beauty) and hana (flowers) on two opposing panels alternating with two more opposing panels of a structure (tea house?) in garden landscape - all in red, gold and black enamels with blue underglaze. Similar landscape decorated panels appear on the shoulder over a ground of hanabishi (flowery diamond) in repeating diamond bordered pattern. The hanabishi (sometimes also referred to as karabana, or 'Chinese flower') could be representative of a ka-mon (family crest). The prominent Takeda family and its branches used the hanabishi ka-mon onward after the Heian period. The Genroku era spanned from 1688 to 1704. The arts and luxuries reached their apex during this era of the Edo period - contributing to large, opulent expressions such as the present vase. Genroku style and influence continued for a short time after (as could this vase) while the Tokugawa Shogunate struggled with inflation after devaluing coin quality in an attempt to sustain the appearance of prosperity (sound familiar?) So in some ways the Tokugawa followed in the footsteps of the decadent Ashikaga. Good, stable condition save an old crack through the foot rim which might originate with the firing as a crazing pattern conforms along and around the crack as if from excessive heat (limited to inside the foot and the lower portion of one bijin panel.) Vase height (not including cover) is 15 7/8 inches (40.32 cm)
This vase is accompanied by a Chinese, late Qing dynasty, exquisitely carved hardwood cover. The fit is loose and the cover a bit small proportionately. As they did not start life together, we are amenable to selling the cover separately should someone have a need. The cover would best fit a large vase with interior rim diameter of no smaller than 4 9/16" (11.58 cm). The cover is 7 5/16" (18.57 cm) with the wood grain (there is substantial shrinkage of the wood against the grain with age.) The cover is in presentable condition with some glue evidence on the interior - probably from refitting after shrinkage.
A fine, late Federal work table. Classical design four column - pedestal base with four swept legs, columns and legs with carved acanthus leaf decoration, terminating in brass paw feet on casters. Supporting a rectangular case of two graduated drawers, the case with deeply concave corners, the hinged top conforming to the case in shape. The top opening to a lined writing surface, also hinged, opening in turn with an easel support providing a canted work surface. Compartments flanking and storage below the hinged work surface. Looks like the original lion mask brasses. Beautiful figured mahogany surface throughout. Poplar secondary wood. Much hay is made by collectors and dealers in attributions of pieces at this level. Sloan's Auctioneers offered a game table in 2001, probably from the same workshop, with citations of a breakfast or parlor table with related design by Duncan Phyfe in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a card table in the Baltimore Museum of Art (sale 913, March 2001, lot 227) [A copy of the Sloan's catalog will accompany this work table.] A dealer showed me another piece with the same type base (though not as nicely carved) and underside, also probably the same work shop, and attributed theirs as Charles-Honoré Lannuier. We will stop short of making a lofty attribution but hold out this table as self evidently excellent work. Good condition with reasonable conservation over its life. Note the slightly more oxidized lower drawer which was exposed to open air from the ventilated underside of the case. Circa 1820. Height, about 32 1/2 inches. Width, about 22 3/8 inches. Depth, about 16 1/4 inches. We are offering American furniture from our personal collection while lightening up in preparation for a far move - reasonable offers entertained. Purchased in neglected condition from a Washington DC consignment shop in the 90s and gave it the preservation it deserved in preparation for the next steward.
This is one of the more intriguing lacquer objects we have owned. Adorned with maki-e Aoe (hollyhock) Ka-mon on nashiji ground (also known as the Kamo Aoi as it was sacred to the Kamo shrine), family crest for prominent daimyo families including the Tokugawa and the Matsudaira during the Momoyama and Edo periods. Even the drawer pull is fashioned as an open worked shibuichi Aoe Ka-mon with the surprise of a textured, kinko (soft metal) raised backing only if you look for it. More interesting yet is the unusual form of this object - perhaps an only opportunity to acquire an example. Resembling a food tray on stand, it nonetheless has a drawer (not common to the form.) And a tall cover comes with a screen (silk?) as if to permit viewing whilst keeping something either in or out. We have not found another example of the form and so are not certain if it might be a covered dining tray (though the drawer) if intended to keep bugs out. Or perhaps it is in fact an insect terrarium (someone suggested it might be a large "cricket cage" or for praying mantis - maybe even to observe mantis combat) keeping the bugs in as it were. We can only speculate at the moment and heartily welcome suggestions or insight - maybe something not yet considered. The covered stand is in rather good condition for a mid Edo lacquer object. Good condition with expected testimony of age and use. There are the usual small lacquer losses mostly to edging (not at all detracting.) There is some fading - varying to the extent exposed to light (see our enlargement comparing surfaces of exterior, screened interior, drawer interior.) There is one minutely small handle stop stud missing from the screened cover. 18th to early 19th century. 13 inches (33.02 cm) high, 9 5/8 (24.45 cm) inches wide, 12 inches (30.48 cm) long.
Since listing this item, someone has suggested its holding fireflies (hotaru) as a possible use.
An unusual and dramatic firescreen abattant. It reminds me of some of the smaller, New York classical parlor furniture I've seen in Southern house tours with late Federal drawing and music rooms furnished with pieces imported by successful merchants - almost, but not quite, over the top in their design yet direct in their function. So an argument could be made for high, New York city style. And the inlaid oval in the center, with pie crimped edge, is reminiscent of some New England work. The passive function is that of a firescreen and explains the distress to the side with inlay which likely faced the fireplace (rather than the upholstered side.) The "surprise" is the enclosed work area with the hinged top dropping to provide a writing surface (abattant [fr], "put horizontal") below the interior fitted with letter or document slots (only the back one of three dividing slats remaining - evidence of two more, and three segments which would have divided at least one of two lateral slots into three sections.) Perhaps because of the narrow profile, there appears to be no secondary wood under or behind any of the solid mahogany. Condition is quite good considering the likely heat exposure as a firescreen and probable stress to the hinged top which relies upon the case as a counter-stop. We had distress to the inlaid surface evened out, filled and finished - disturbing old finish as less as possible - to make it presentable for the decorator yet acceptable to the collector. We left the old upholstery (possibly original) alone for the next steward to decide. Our restorer (specializing in period furniture) had also never before encountered this design. Our photographs illustrate the character of the old, now serviceable inlaid surface. Ca 1800 - 1810. Height, about 42 3/4 inches. Width, about 21 5/8 inches (about 22 1/4 inches wide at the trestle base). We are offering American furniture from our personal collection while lightening up in preparation for a distant move - reasonable offers entertained.
Federal Mahogany swell front chest of drawers. Yellow pine and poplar secondary woods. Maryland, probably Baltimore, 1790 to 1810. This chest is similar in ways to an example in "Furniture in Maryland, 1740-1940", Weidman, 1984, item #77, page 123. On both, the top conforms to the bow front case, projecting a bit beyond the case. And both have nicely formed French feet, inlaid banding on the drawers and above the skirt, and inlaid chevrons centering the escutcheons. In fact, the present chest came from the estate of Dr. Harvey William Cushing (1869-1939) while the chest illustrated in the cited volume (in the collection of the Maryland Historical Society) came from a descendant of the Cushing family - with Baltimore roots going back to at least the 1770s. More history regarding the Cushing family can be found in the volume and later history in a letter we obtained from the dealer who sold the chest to us (which also mentions how they acquired the chest.) Unlike the published chest, the inlaid bands on the present chest are along the drawer edges, with oval stringing on the drawer faces, and a single top drawer atop three more graduated drawers. In good, presentable condition, it appears the chest may have had restorative work to the top and likely a later refinish, pulls appear to be replacements. One drawer pull is loose on one side and some distress to inlaid banding. Height, about 42 1/4 inches. Depth about 23 1/16 inches. Height 36 3/4 inches. We are offering American furniture from our personal collection while lightening up in preparation for a far move - reasonable offers entertained. Provenance: Dr. Harvey William Cushing, an unnamed Baltimore dealer, a Frederick Md dealer (disclosed to purchaser), ourselves.
A fine Japanese lacquer tebako (accessories box). Makie and nashiji decoration of three friends of winter decoration and ka-mon on roiro ground. The three friends of winter decoration continues fluidly from the cover to the box. A tray is enclosed. Two metal bosses with ring bales bear a wisteria mon. Two mon are depicted in the lacquer work. The butterfly mon is consistent with that of the Okayama branch of the Matsudaira clan (in Bizen province). The wisteria mon is consistent with the Daimyate in Chikuzen province (Hawley references the Fukuoka and the Akizuki Daimyo of Chikuzen). That both the Okayama and the Chikuzen families were daimyo, and the lacquer work is of commensurate quality, it does tend to confirm representation of these families and not others known to use the mon. This box was undoubtedly gifted, possibly as part of a dowry or trousseau, on the occasion of a wedding between members of the two families. Condition is good and presentable with usual small indications of wear from use and only minor lacquer loss notably on the some of the edges of the cover, along the edge of the underside of the box, and one short stress line each on a corner of the cover and of the box. Full disclosure: A metal cap is missing on the inside which covered prongs from an exterior boss. Edo period - at least early 19th century. 7 1/16 inches (18 cm) long. 6 inches (15.24 cm) wide. 5 5/16 inches (13.5 cm) high.
A Japanese, Meiji era, six part bronze usabata with relief decoration. Used for ikebana flower arrangements. The baluster form main vessel with bird and crab on one side and hawk and snake on the other side - both in forested water fall landscapes - and four smaller birds in landscape panels. Separate floral and foliate handles. Separate top flaring to a broad, disc form with tall rim featuring six birds in landscape panels below incised key bordered rim surrounding incised decoration of carp, salamander and turtle in water among aquatic plants. Separate trifid support with high relief and sculptural peonies decoration. Separate base with chidori (sparrows) over active sea. Good condition with minor conservation comprised of improvisation to one missing pin supporting one of the handles (an easy fix for a metalwork restorer) and a similar improvisation using a loosely fitted bamboo pin to support one of the peony blooms on the trifid support (also an easy fix for a metalwork specialist.) Very minor losses to peony petals. Signed Yamashiro ju min Shikishi Takayoshi Kore Tsukuru. Overall height 23 1/4 inches (59.05 cm). Rim diameter 11 3/8 inches (28.89 cm). Weight and to some extent size will be a factor when shipping this uncommon find.
A centennial pair of Federal style bench made mahogany stands. Truly fine specimens - each with shaped mahogany top over conforming figured mahogany veneered and beaded case. Each case with canted corners centering ring turned leg posts and with serpentine front. Each front with two beaded and line inlaid drawers each with two brass pulls. The mahogany legs, below the case, reeded and gracefully swelling and then tapering to high, turned feet. Poplar secondary wood. Bottom drawer of each showing more oxidation on the bottom as would be expected. While the drawers are not graduated, fit is not interchangeable. Close inspection reveals other signs of hand crafting including some chamfering, dovetailing as well as some kerfs and planing. The stands function perfectly as end tables to a sofa in the modern home. In the period this form would have been used hold necessary accessories in its drawers (perhaps sewing or writing) and on its top such as candle holders (ergo the name "stand".) Condition is good and serviceable. The tops have been more recently refinished and show minor distress from use - one with minor splitting (still one piece.) The rest possibly never refinished - with good color and patina and minor signs of use, wear and care. Each Height 28 5/8 inches, Width 17 3/8 inches, Depth about 16 7/8 inches. Reasonable offers considered while we prepare for a distant move. Shipping is at buyer's expense and will require delivery by a qualified service.
A fine and early museum quality complete set of five Ko-Imari, Kakiemon style cups or choko. Blue underglaze and green, red, aubergine, yellow and black overglaze enamel decoration of peonies and prunus blossoms in garden landscape with rockery and fence. Traces of rubbed gilt enameled highlights. The choko form saw many uses such as teabowls (also seen in early European ceramics after Japanese examples of the period), large sake cups, and mukozuke. We estimate from the delicate but sure potting, the free hand but care of painted decoration, and color of enamels that these cups are Genroku era - late 17th to early 18th century. Each with blue underglaze spurious six character Chenghua mark in single blue circle inside a narrow ring foot. Very good condition considering age and use with expected light scratching to surfaces from use over the centuries and minor imperfections as would be expected from the period. One with an attractive, old gold lacquer filled stable line from the rim - that bowl also rendering a pleasant resonance when lightly tapped. Diameters are not perfect circles but longest length of each is nearly 4 inches diameter (about 10.15 cm). Height (and foot diameters) similarly varies near 2 1/2 inches (6.35 cm). We acquired this set with an old, labeled tomobako in which we continue to store the cups. The label reads "Ko-Imari choko go kyaku, inokuchi" (the last term, inokuchi, referring to the possible use of this five piece set as sake choko.) The box (missing its top) apparently having started its life with the cups, it is understood that the cups are earlier.
Rare "Buddha Asuka (B)" woodblock print by Kiyoshi Saito, 1955, number 40 of only 50 printed, signed in white ink and sealed in red ink both on the image area. Signed and sealed printed label "self-carved self printed" also included (attached to paper backing removed to inspect condition.)
We were not able to find a recent auction record for this image with data available. Another mid-century work by Saito (in color) titled Asuka (Kudara Kannon) [possibly confused by the artist with one of the Roku Kannon also of the Horyuji] was bestowed in 1959 by the artist to the Collection of The University of Michigan Museum of Art. It is noted that Saito was creating works in a series of early Nara sculptures around the time. A Saito subject similar to the present, muted work (but printed two years later in a run of 100) of another Nara sculpture, Miroku, was offered in Christies sale 8862, lot 306 together with a Winter in Aizu print.
The muted colors of the present work is a reflection of the somber lighting within the temples housing sculptures of this period.
Condition of the present work is good, with some toning and with brown paper tape around the edges (covering up to about a half inch margin.) A penciled note (from the framer?) appears in the margin on the verso. Some ink bleed on the verso from the original printing not at all compromising the image. Not clear if this was the first framing, the print was nonetheless not removed for some time until we removed the backing to inspect condition (image included of verso before removing paper.) Sheet height about 33 inches, sheet width about 21 1/4 inches. Image height about 29 5/8 inches, image width about 16 inches.
Thai sutra box and sutra. The rectangular box with ornate gilt decorated panels (each a different scene), three on each side and one on each end, of deities in combat on black lacquered surface. the interior painted red. The sutra with leather ends and sturdy paper leaves with mostly Sanskrit and hand illustrated in colors variably throughout. All good condition with reasonable wear. Sutra (closed) cover length 26 3/4 inches (67.9 cm). Box length (along the base), 32 1/2 inches (82.55 cm). Box height, 13 5/8 inches (34.6 cm), Box width (along the base), 11 inches (27.94 cm). This item will ship oversized and with significant weight in a wood crate all at buyer's expense (or we can arrange with buyer to pick up after paid.)
A pair of fine and very unusual Art Deco Japanese studio porcelain Iroe Nabeshima style sculptural vases. Of waisted, triangular section, seeming to suggest an origami depiction (if not being too imaginative - though these vases are imaginative if anything) of crossed rhinoceros horns as seen in Chinese art symbolism of the 'Hundred Treasures'. Each vase with three angular parts forming the triangular section with uneven rims, the three distinct parts curved (forming the waist) and tapered through to the three feet. Nabeshima palette enamels and underglaze blue decoration of Chidori-Mon and bamboo lattice and of Botan-Karakusa. The Chidori and bamboo were used in Mon for clans including prominent Uesugi and Date families. Each vase signed on a triangular, flat bottom inside the splayed feet. It appears there may be two artist names repeated on each so perhaps a collaboration. An old import shop label, "BI'DON importers", still adheres inside the rim of one of the pair. Good condition. Height varies slightly - 12 9/16 inches (31.9 cm) for one and 12 1/8 inches (30.8 cm) for the other. Variation in the weight (and contrary to size) of these substantial vases also is telling of the non-commercial origins of these meticulous studio works - the slightly shorter vase weighing more at 1.685 kg and the slightly taller vase 1.445 kg
19th century English oil on canvas, artist unknown. Greyhounds and hare with huntsman, castle town and highlands in the background. School of Stubbs, Manner of Charles Towne (perhaps a contemporary or follower.) Compare the present composition with a work of Charles Towne, Christie's sale 7200, lot 51. In both, two greyhounds are depicted in the foreground with a hare and in the distant background are huntsmen on horseback, castle or fortified structures, highlands, and light centered by gathering, gray clouds. This painting in need of cleaning (should bring out a lot ... perhaps a signature too) and light conservation. The canvas has never been laid down and has one, small patch. Stretcher size, about 24 1/8 inches by 26 inches. Frame size, about 30 1/4 inches by 32 1/4 inches. The frame also needs to be cleaned and touched up.
A 19th century American folk art painting. Oil on canvas. Table top still life of bountiful agricultural harvest and a pineapple likely from port trade (pineapples were popular import produce in 19th century port cities and much can be read of pineapples in American tradition and design - most notably relating to hospitality.) Relined - otherwise good, clean and bright condition. Stretcher dimensions 30 1/2 inches x 25 1/4 inches. We acquired this in the late 90s from a long time Georgetown period furniture dealer (and Trocadero member) who had this in his own dining room for years. We have, also, enjoyed it in ours since but it is now time to lighten up as we prepare for a distant move.
A fine Japanese blue and white porcelain dish. The foliate rim with chocolate brown glaze, the white porcelain body and glaze, and the fine attention to detail all suggest Kakiemon type. The cavetto with decoration of flowering plants including peonies, prunus and others. The center decorated with a bird (perhaps a flycatcher) in fruited branches, rockery and bamboo leaves below. Both the cavetto and center with reverse technique where the underglaze cobalt blue forms the background of the decoration. Finely defined chatter marks inside the footrim centering five spur marks. Remnants of an old label adhere to the back. The decoration has the feel of Chinese inspiration. Emulation of traditional Chinese porcelain decoration, and certainly Chinese porcelain marks, is not without basis. I have not come upon quite this decoration before and would consider it, along with the quality of this work, to be rare and early - probably Genroku era. One hairline issues from the rim where a flake on the front has an old repair, otherwise good condition. This dish would be an excellent candidate for a proper kintsugi (gold lacquer) repair. Diameter 8 7/8 inches (22.5 cm), Height 1 1/16 inch (2.7 cm).
A 16th century Yoshiro Zogan tsuba. The type is named for a Kaga province artist considered to have advanced the late Onin period brass inlay art to that of hira-zogan - flush with the iron surface. The school also took hold in other provinces, most notably Bizen. The mokko-gata form of this tsuba would appear to be uncommon for Yoshiro Zogan tsuba particularly of katana size. Eight ka-mon are inlaid in open work fashion. The remaining surface decorated with a network of brass inlay depicting algae. Hitsu-ana for kozuka and kogai also lined with brass. From the Onin period when brass inlay became popular, the metal was highly valued. This tsuba is late Muromachi period to possibly Momoyama period. It is in very good condition with apparently uneven rubbing to some of the inlaid brass while the patina on iron surfaces is undisturbed. The very light, old loss of brass inlay is good as this type of brass inlay often sees more loss as the underlying iron surrenders surface with oxidation. About 3 1/4 inches (9.53 cm) high, about 3 1/8 inches (7.94 cm) wide, about 5/32 inches (4 mm) thick.
Korean painting of a lone fisherman in boat in Zen (Korean - Seon [not to be confused with the artist]) school landscape with inverted rocky cliff with trees and shrubbery clinging to a bluff over water with grasses in the foreground and hilly, forested shores and clouds in the faded distance. Anonymous. 19th century, Joseon dynasty. Good condition with relatively even toning of the paper with light distress and slight rubbing mostly on the periphery. Image area 19 inches high by 15 inches wide. (Shadowbox frame about 33 inches high by 23 3/8 inches wide.)
This Qing dynasty Kang table with foldable legs was probably meant to be portable, for example to the garden, countryside or for travel. While it is dressed up with a rich burl wood veneer (with inlaid decoration of bats and precious objects) and dark lacquer (the tone of more valuable but heavier hardwoods), the construction is of a lighter weight wood and weighing just under 9 lb (barely over 4 kg). Condition is good considering age and use. While the burl veneer shows some patchwork, likely including some old repairs along its life, and the lacquer only minor wear, we could consider it fortunate that the table survives to us in as presentable a state. One piece of wood across the underside appears possibly to have been added later for support. The white felt pads were adhered to the feet before we acquired the table and we have not removed them. While showing good wear and patina, we assess it be at least 19th century. Length is about 22 1/2 inches (57.2 cm), Width is about 14 3/4 inches (37.5 cm), Height is about 10 3/8 inches (26.4 cm). The table also doubles nicely as a display stand, when folding the legs under, with a height (legs folded) of 3 7/8 inches (9.8 cm). See our illustrations for an example of use as a display stand. For a comparable example of about the same size and proportions, see Bonhams sale 22412, lot 8541.