A lacquered tonkotsu (tobacco container) and cover By Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Meiji Period
Lot 101*
A lacquered tonkotsu (tobacco container) and cover
By Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Meiji Period
Sold for £96,000 (US$ 154,084) inc. premium

Lot Details
A lacquered tonkotsu (tobacco container) and cover By Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Meiji Period A lacquered tonkotsu (tobacco container) and cover By Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Meiji Period A lacquered tonkotsu (tobacco container) and cover By Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Meiji Period A lacquered tonkotsu (tobacco container) and cover By Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Meiji Period
A lacquered tonkotsu (tobacco container) and cover
By Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Meiji Period
The ishime ground decorated in gold, tan-urushi, keuchi and silver takamakie, hiramakie, kakiwari and sabi-nuri with a gardener's thatched hut with a bamboo blind hanging at the door partially obscuring the interior, where bonsai plants in pots are set on shelves, a pair of potted miniature trees stand to one side of the hut, whilst in the foreground a leaning shelter houses young plants, the reverse with hanging branches of yanagi (willow), signed on the base with lightly-incised characters Zeshin; the cover of mulberry wood; with en-suite lacquer hako-netsuke decorated in silver hiramakie with an egret in the driving rain, the reverse with a leaf drifting between pebbles, rendered in ishimei-ji, imitating stone, signed Zeshin; with wood storage box. 4.9cm x 6.7cm (1 7/8in x 2 5/8in).

Footnotes

  • 温室盆栽図蒔絵とんこつ 柴田是真作 明治時代

    The gently-rounded shape of this tonkotsu and superb execution of the lacquer is synonymous with Zeshin's craftmanship. A tobacco container with an identical design by the artist, and which may well be the piece offered here, is reproduced in volume 11 of a series of e-hon titled Shikki zuroku (Illustrated Inventory of Lacquer Works), published for members of the Japanese Lacquer Master Association (Nihon shikkokai) from 1891-1914. In these books, well-known lacquer Masters present almost two hundred objects which they especially admire, whilst at the same time providing detailed descriptions (or instructions) of materials and techniques used in the original.

    The onshitsu bonsai design was a popular motif for Zeshin and he re-used it to adorn a number of different media from trays, boxes to sagemono as is presented here. A similar treatment of this design can be seen in a lacquer panel by the artist preserved in the collection of the Imperial Household Agency, Sannomaru Shozokan, published and illustrated in the Exhibition Catalogue, The Art of Shibata Zeshin Featuring the Edson Collection, curated by Yasumura Toshinobu (Director, Itabashi Art Museum), Nikkei Inc., 2009, p.118, pl.J-12.
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