A lacquer single-case inro By Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Meiji Period
Lot 266
A lacquer single-case inro By Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Meiji Period
Sold for £301,250 (US$ 506,347) inc. premium
Lot Details
A lacquer single-case inro
By Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Meiji Period
Of rectangular form, deocorated in brown, black and kasshoku (dark, burnt-orange) takamakie, with a large persimmon fruit and two kurosuguri (blackberries) falling to the ground on one side, a small trailing branch of kurosuguri on the reverse, the calyx and branches skillfully rendered to create a realistic and textured surface which contrasts against the smooth, glossy lacquer finish of the over-ripe fruit, all reserved on a dark brown seido-nuri ground, the interior of plain roiro lacquer, signed on the base with scratched characters Zeshin.
6.6cm x 4.7cm (2 9/16in x 1 13/16in).


  • 柿に黒酸塊図蒔絵印籠 銘「是真」 明治時代

    Provenance: W. L. Behrens collection, no.1091, illustrated in the Catalogue, pl.XLVIII.
    Wrangham collection, no.1535.

    This is a typical and classic example of lacquer work by the artist - the seido or bronze-style ground often favoured by Zeshin provides an elegant and subdued canvas for this understated still-life design whilst the sombre colours of blackish-brown, black and dark, burnt-orange symbolises the visual representation of the aesthetic ideal iki (roughly translating as nonchalant chic) that the cultured, wealthy and taste-conscious urbanites of Edo society and indeed, Zeshin himself, strove to emulate.

    According to Fujioka Sakutaro (1870-1910), an art historian, whose Kinsei Kaigashi (History of Painting in Recent Times), first published in 1903, the hallmarks of haiku can be used to characterize Zeshin's greatest and most distinctive works. He observed that by deliberately choosing to paint a few things so that they seem to overflow beyond the edges of the paper, Zeshin achieved the same emotional impact as the haiku master does with his 17-syllable verses - interestingly, among his many artistic and literary talents, Zeshin himself was also an accomplished haiku poet.
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