SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) MINIATURE INRŌ WITH WRITING UTENSILS AND PLUM BRANCH 文房具梅枝蒔絵小印籠 Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890
Lot 9*
SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) MINIATURE INRŌ WITH WRITING UTENSILS AND PLUM BRANCH 文房具梅枝蒔絵小印籠
Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890
Sold for £25,000 (US$ 33,443) inc. premium

Lot Details
SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) MINIATURE INRŌ WITH WRITING UTENSILS AND PLUM BRANCH 文房具梅枝蒔絵小印籠 Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890 SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) MINIATURE INRŌ WITH WRITING UTENSILS AND PLUM BRANCH 文房具梅枝蒔絵小印籠 Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890 SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) MINIATURE INRŌ WITH WRITING UTENSILS AND PLUM BRANCH 文房具梅枝蒔絵小印籠 Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890
SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) MINIATURE INRŌ WITH WRITING UTENSILS AND PLUM BRANCH 文房具梅枝蒔絵小印籠
Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890
A miniature inrō with two interlocking cases and cover, of lenticular cross-section with slightly curved sides, curved top and base, and applied cord-runners, the roiro black-lacquer ground decorated on one side with gold, silver, and coloured hiramaki-e and takamaki-e depicting a suzuri (ink-grinding stone) with a stick of sumi (solid ink) and a brushpot with two brushes and a branch of plum, executed in subori, which extends on to the reverse, the compartments and risers gold nashiji, the shoulders and rims gold fundame; iron ojime with gold overlay of moon, autumn plants, and geometric decoration; plain wood manjū netsuke

Signed on the base with gold hiramaki-e characters Shōkadō hitsui o moshite Zeshin 松花堂筆意模是真 (Zeshin, copying the brush style of Shōkadō)

4.5 × 3.9 × 1.5 cm (1¾ × 1½ × 5/8 in.)

Accompanied by a certificate by Shōji Hōshin (1898–1993) reading Zeshin sensei saku fude suzuri Shōkadō no i o utsushite maki-e inrō shinsaku mugi mono nari mizunoe-ne shunjitsu Hōshin kan 是真先生作 筆硯松花堂寫意 蒔絵印籠 真作無疑者也 壬子春日 芳真鑒 (A maki-e inrō by master Zeshin depicting a writing brush and inkstone in the manner of Shōkadō, examined by Hōshin in spring 1972); seal: Hōshin no in 芳真之印 (Seal of Hōshin)

Fitted wood storage box (3)

Provenance
Ido Bunjin 井戸文人 collection

Exhibited
Nezu Bijutsukan (Nezu Museum), Tokyo, 1 November–16 December 2012

Published
Ido 1918, cat. no. 92
Nezu Bijutsukan (Nezu Museum) 2012, cat. no. 76

Footnotes

  • The combination of a branch of plum with writing utensils hints at the invisible presence of Sugawara no Michizane (845–903), the great scholar, poet, and statesman who was subsequently, under the name Tenjin, revered as a Shinto god of literature and learning. On his departure into unjust exile from Kyoto to Dazaifu in Kyushu, Michizane wrote a farewell poem to his beloved plum tree, which later magically transported itself so as to remain with its owner.

    For another Zeshin inrō with a signature mentioning Shōkadō Shōjō (1584–1639), a Buddhist monk, painter, and calligrapher, known as one of the 'Three Brushes of the Kan'ei Era (1624–1644)', see Bonhams 2016, cat. no. 18.

    Ido Bunjin, a previous owner of this piece, was the author of a catalogue and history of bags and purses, published in 1918 and 1919.
Activities
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25% on the first £175,000 of the hammer price
20% on the excess of £175,001 and up to £3,000,000 of the hammer price
12.5% on the excess of £3,000,001 of the hammer price
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    Specialist - Japanese Art
    Bonhams
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