A set of two inlaid shibuichi and gold inro Both inro and the kagamibuta netsuke by Katsura Mitsuharu (1871-1962), dated 1931
Lot 232
A set of two inlaid shibuichi and gold inro
Both inro and the kagamibuta netsuke by Katsura Mitsuharu (1871-1962), dated 1931
Sold for £49,250 (US$ 83,665) inc. premium
Auction Details
A set of two inlaid shibuichi and gold inro Both inro and the kagamibuta netsuke by Katsura Mitsuharu (1871-1962), dated 1931 A set of two inlaid shibuichi and gold inro Both inro and the kagamibuta netsuke by Katsura Mitsuharu (1871-1962), dated 1931 A set of two inlaid shibuichi and gold inro Both inro and the kagamibuta netsuke by Katsura Mitsuharu (1871-1962), dated 1931 A set of two inlaid shibuichi and gold inro Both inro and the kagamibuta netsuke by Katsura Mitsuharu (1871-1962), dated 1931 A set of two inlaid shibuichi and gold inro Both inro and the kagamibuta netsuke by Katsura Mitsuharu (1871-1962), dated 1931 A set of two inlaid shibuichi and gold inro Both inro and the kagamibuta netsuke by Katsura Mitsuharu (1871-1962), dated 1931
Lot Details
A set of two inlaid shibuichi and gold inro
Both inro and the kagamibuta netsuke by Katsura Mitsuharu (1871-1962), dated 1931
The larger shibuichi inro of three cases, worked in katakiribori and decorated in silver and gold honzogan and takazogan on one side with a large wind-swept peony bloom, the reverse with flowering stalks of plum and chrysanthemums, the interior of silver and gold, signed with chiselled characters Mitsuharu with kao; with ensuite kagamibuta netsuke, the gold plate engraved with two Noh dancers, signed Mitsuharu with kao, on a wood bowl carved in the form of a chrysanthemum by Abe Kenji and gilt-metal reticulated ojime, unsigned, with tomobako, signed and titled by the artist; the second inro of solid gold and containing three cases, and decorated in iroe-honzogan and takazogan with a continuous design of townspeople dancing in a circle with fans as cherry blossoms flutter around them, the interior of gold, signed with chiselled characters Mitsuharu with kao, with en-suite kagamibuta netsuke, the shibuichi plate decorated with a branch of cherry blossoms, signed Mitsuharu with kao and gilt-metal reticulated ojime engraved with blossoms, unsigned, with tomobako signed, sealed, dated and titled by the artist; both inro with silk storage pouches. The shibuichi inro 8cm (3 1/8in), the gold inro 6.5cm (2 9/16in). (6).

Footnotes

  • 風吹牡丹に菊梅図四分一金工印籠 銘「光春(花押)」
    附 能楽師図朱漆塗菊花透鏡蓋根付 鏡蓋 銘「光春(花押)」 枠 銘「(花押)」
    輪舞踊に桜図金工印籠 銘「光春(花押)」
    附 桜枝図鏡蓋根付 鏡蓋 銘「光春(花押)」 
    1931年

    The inscription on the inside of the tomobako lid for the shibuichi inro reads:

    福禄寿の意 朧銀印籠 牡丹梅葉の図 薄肉象嵌片切
    鶴亀の舞 金根付板葉焼片切 於不老庵 桂光春刻 印

    And transcribes: Fukurokuju no i, oborogin inro, botan umeha no zu, usu-niku-zogan, katakiri tsurukame no mai kin netsuke katakiri Oite Furo-an Katsura Mitsuharu koku.
    (Auspicious meaning of Fukurokuju, a peony and plum motif inro of subdued silver, made with thin, deep relief carving (and) coloured gold inlay, crane and turtle dance netsuke of gold and silver, made at the (studio) of Furo-An, carved by Katsura Mitsuharu).

    The inside of the tomobako lid for the smaller gold inro reads:

    昭和六年夏 於不老庵 桂光春刻 印

    And transcribes: Showa rokunen natsu, Furo-an ni oite, Katsura Mitsuharu koku. (Made in summer of the 6th year of Showa [1931], at the (studio) of Furo-an, carved by Katsura Mitsuharu).

    Born in Tokyo, Katsura Mitsuharu became a pupil of the Yanagawa School artist Toyokawa Mitsunaga in 1882. One of the foremost metalworkers of the early 20th century, Mitsuharu became independent in 1898 and opened an atelier in the Asakusa district of Tokyo. For additional bibliographical details on the artist, see Wakayama Homatsu (Takeshi) (ed.), Kinko Jiten (A Dictionary of Metalworkers), Token Shunju Shinbunsha, Tokyo, 1999, p.408.

    Mitsuharu went to extraordinary lengths with these two inro, lavishing on them great amounts of inlay. He used different colours of gold in the leaves and stamens of the flowers. Some are highly polished, whilst others contrast with fine texturing. Likewise some of the blossoms rise from the surface inlaid in high relief, with others carved into the surface. Both the hammered and the inlaid portions were then finely detailed with chisels. The figures are also worked with visually contrasting metal inlay. The great technical finesse and aesthetic detail that exemplify these pieces would surely suggest that the inro were commissioned by an important patron.
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