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LOT 331 - NE0421

By Yamada Jokasai, signed Jokasai saku 常嘉齋作
Japan, mid-19th century, Edo period (1615-1868)

The finely lacquered inro depicting Shiba Onko as a boy, standing beside a large jar with a rock in his hand, having just used it to break open the jar as a second karako falls out along with a large amount of water, which would have surely drowned the boy. To the reverse, two further karako are running away in panic. Each of the boys’ clothes are sporting various patterns in gold hiramaki-e, enriched with aogai (mother-of-pearl) and gold kirikane. The water jar and four boys are rendered in takamaki-e and hiramaki-e, against a gold ground with splashes of muro nashiji.

HEIGHT 8.9 cm

Condition: Excellent condition with only very minor surface wear. Tiny chips to the edges of the risers and to the cord holes at the top. All as visible in the images provided.
Provenance: Ex-collection Chiura Obata. Chiura Obata (1885-1975) was an artist, who studied in Tokyo from the age of 14 under Tanryo Murata, Kogyo Terasaki, and Goho Hashimoto. In 1903 he moved to the USA. He spent much of the 1920s painting landscapes throughout California and helped establish the East West Art Society in San Francisco in 1921. In 1965, Obata received the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Emperor’s Award, for promoting goodwill and cultural understanding between the United States and Japan. According to Chiura Obata this inro was formerly in the collection of the Kanin family. The Kan’in-no-miya (閑院宮家) was the youngest of the four shinnoke, branches of the Imperial Family of Japan who were eligible to succeed to the Chrysanthemum Throne in the event that the main line should die out. It was founded by Prince Naohito, the son of Emperor Higashiyama.

Shiba Onko was a statesman, historian, and scholar of the Northern Song dynasty, renowned for his intelligence, though his fame came at a much younger age. The scene depicted in this inro tells the story of four friends who had climbed upon a large vase to watch fish swim within. One of the boys leaned in to get a better view but ended up head-first in the vase, unable to escape; his friends feared him drowned, and all but the young Shiba Onko ran away in fright. Shiba Onko picked up a rock and smashed the front of the vase, saving his friend from certain death.

Buy now for €3,800


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