A cloisonné enamel go board with a wood storage box By Honda
Lot 255*
An extremely rare and fine cloisonné enamel model of a traditional go-ban (games board) By Honda Kozaburo of Nagoya, Meiji Period
Sold for £216,000 (US$ 338,451) inc. premium

Lot Details
An extremely rare and fine cloisonné enamel model of a traditional go-ban (games board) By Honda Kozaburo of Nagoya, Meiji Period An extremely rare and fine cloisonné enamel model of a traditional go-ban (games board) By Honda Kozaburo of Nagoya, Meiji Period A cloisonné enamel go board with a wood storage box By Honda An extremely rare and fine cloisonné enamel model of a traditional go-ban (games board) By Honda Kozaburo of Nagoya, Meiji Period
An extremely rare and fine cloisonné enamel model of a traditional go-ban (games board)
By Honda Kozaburo of Nagoya, Meiji Period
The elegant go floor board is raised on four integral, low bulbous legs and finely worked entirely in silver and gold wire, the four sides alternating between ho-o roundels scattered among kiri-mon interweaved amongst karakusa and confronting butterfly roundels and kiku blossoms among karakusa reserved on a transparent ground flecked with aventurine, the playing surface with the intersecting lined grid finely rendered in gold wire, the underside similarly embellished with stylised foliate motifs on a mustard-yellow ground; the heso signed Dai Nippon Honda sei, with wood storage box. 23cm x 41cm x 44cm (9in x 16 1/16in x 17 1/8in). (2).

Footnotes

  • 鳳凰蝶図七宝碁盤 本多興三郎 明治時代

    Go (or Wei Qi as it is known in China) is considered by most Oriental game experts to be the world's greatest strategic skill game, far surpassing Chess in its complexity and scope. Of all the serious board games, go has the fewest rules and yet, the game itself is the most intellectually challenging. The mathematical elegance of the rules is complemented by the great beauty of the board, especially in Japan where it has been elevated to a pinnacle of aesthetic beauty.

    The exceptionally fine condition and exquisite workmanship of this piece allow us to appreciate the remarkable technique and wide repertoire of the Japanese cloisonné enamel maker's craft and in particular, the aventurine ground which is specifically referred to by Brinkley in Artistic Japan at Chicago: A Description of Japanese Works of Art Sent to the World's Fair, Yokohama 1893, as a special characteristic of Honda's work. The artist's works are as highly sought after today as they were during his lifetime and extant signed works by Honda, particuarly of this extraordinary quality, are extremely rare.

    Although go boards of ivory, wood and other materials are in abundant supply, a cloisonné enamel example of this superlative quality, as presented here, is hitherto unrecorded. This would therefore strongly suggest that it was either commissioned directly from the artist by a wealthy industrial family to present as a gift or that it was made for Bankoku Hakurankai (International Exhibition) entry.

    Compare also with a go-ban which belonged to the Tokugawa Family, lacquered with maki-e patterns of tortoise-shell and aoi-mon crest, illustrated by Colin Mackenzie and Irving Finkel, Asian Games: the Art of Contest, Asia Society 2004, p.208, no.16:7.
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