Meiji cloisonné provides boost to English salerooms

An unusual dish from the workshop of Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927) sold for £18,000 at Woolley & Wallis on November 14. But this was not the only example of top-tier Meiji cloisonné for sale last month.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Roland Arkell

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A pair of 7½in (18.5cm) high ovoid vases attributed to Yasuyuki took £14,000(estimate £5000-7000) to lead the November 21 Asian Works of Art sale at Matthew Barton (24% buyer’s premium). Similar to examples made for imperial presentation or shown by the workshop at exhibitions c.1900, each was worked with panels of cranes and dragons against contrasting black and tea dust grounds.

Yasuyuki and Sosuke

A larger pair of 15in (36cm) silver wire enamel vases offered at Dreweatts on November 13 were also unsigned but in the style of another great Meiji cloisonné brandname: Namikawa Sosuke of Tokyo. Decorated across tapered cylindrical forms with pigeons amid the branches of a flowering cherry tree against a pale blue ground, they took a surprise £21,000 (estimate £2000-3000).

And anyone expecting to pick up a (flawed) example of the work of Yasuyuki for a song at Hartleys (17.5% buyer’s premium) in Ilkley on November 28 was to be disappointed.

Although scantily catalogued (and sold together with a decent Tokyo School ivory okimono), a small 2½in (7cm) dragon-decorated blue-ground koro minus its pierced cover was picked up by bidders on who had already quadrupled the £150-200 estimate before sale day. It ultimately sold to the room at £1600.