School of Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), signed Zeshin 是眞
Japan, Edo/Tokyo, mid to late 19th century
Of rounded rectangular form, the kinji ground finely decorated with sumi-e togidashi, black takamaki-e, and red lacquer, depicting a crow perched on a blossoming plum tree against a red full moon, each side also showing a single loose feather fluttering in the wind, a fine and subtle detail. The interior with nashiji. The underside with the ‘rat’s tooth’ scratched signature ZESHIN.
HEIGHT 7.8 cm
Condition: Excellent condition with only minor surface wear.
Provenance: British collection.
Initially recognized for his painting, Zeshin was later renowned for his lacquerwork after studying under the lacquerer Koma Kansai II (1766-1835). Combining his technical mastery of the medium with the originality of his painterly output and tutelage with the Shijo school painter Suzuki Nanrei (1775-1844), Zeshin made significant contributions as a lacquer artist. The present inro represents the unique combination of Zeshin’s painterly background and later prowess as a lacquer artist.
Compare a related lacquer four-case inro by Koma Kansai, teacher of Shibata Zeshin, at Bonhams, The Edward Wrangham Collection of Japanese Art Part III, 15 May 2012, London, lot 261 (sold for GBP 85,250).
A woodblock color print by Shibata Zeshin, depicting crows flying in the red sky, is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, accession number 2007.32.102.
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