Huthart collection of netsuke offered at Bonhams

Two views of an Iwami netsuke ‘Kurogaki’ (black persimmon) carving of a rat sitting on an inkstick – estimated at £3500-4500 at Bonhams.

Robert S Huthart, the Newcastle-born manager of the Hong Kong department store conglomerate Lane Crawford, was first introduced to netsuke on a visit to Tokyo when he was given of a copy of ‘The Wonderful World of Netsuke’ by Raymond Bushell.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | ATG Reporter

His focus became the distinctive netsuke produced by late 18th and early 19th century carvers based in the seaboard province of Iwami (present-day Shimane Prefecture).

Huthart’s first-ever Iwami netsuke purchase, in January 1979, was this kurogaki(black persimmon) carving of a rat sitting on an inkstick.

As well as the quality of the carving, he was intrigued by the four-line inscription that gives the name of the carver Seiyodo Tomiharu, the location where it was carved, in Seigen’an in Iwami and the exact date that the netsuke was carved (‘in 1782, on the 20th day of the 11th month’).

It carries an estimate of £3500-4500 when Bonhams sells the first part of the Robert Huthart collection of Iwami Netsuke in New Bond Street on May 15.

New skills

With the Haitorei edict of 1876, which proscribed the traditional samurai privilege of wearing two swords, Shoami Katsuyoshi (1832-1908) lost his traditional sources of patronage but soon became exceptionally successful at adapting his skills to new kinds of production.

A cast and inlaid bronze hanaike (flower vase) in the form of a gourd by Shoami Katsuyoshi – estimated at £100,000-150,000 at Bonhams.

He became one of the greatest metalworkers of the Meiji era.

A cast and inlaid bronze hanaike (flower vase) in the form of a gourd carries an estimate of £100,000-150,000 at Bonhams’ sale of Fine Japanese Art in London on May 16.

Chinese geese

Bonhams’ Fine Chinese Art sale at New Bond Street on May 16 includes a spectacular example of ‘export’ porcelain: a pair of famille rose ‘goose’ tureens and covers c.1760 (estimate £150,000-200,000).

They form part of a European private collection of export porcelain.