Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 (1807-1891) INRŌ (MEDICINE CASE) WITH BUTTERBUR DESIGN 蕗図蒔絵印籠 Meiji era (1868-1912), circa 1877 (2)

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Lot 13*
Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 (1807-1891) INRŌ (MEDICINE CASE) WITH BUTTERBUR DESIGN 蕗図蒔絵印籠
Meiji era (1868-1912), circa 1877
Sold for £ 122,500 (US$ 160,981) inc. premium

Lot Details
Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 (1807-1891) INRŌ (MEDICINE CASE) WITH BUTTERBUR DESIGN 蕗図蒔絵印籠 Meiji era (1868-1912), circa 1877 (2) Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 (1807-1891) INRŌ (MEDICINE CASE) WITH BUTTERBUR DESIGN 蕗図蒔絵印籠 Meiji era (1868-1912), circa 1877 (2)
Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 (1807-1891) INRŌ (MEDICINE CASE) WITH BUTTERBUR DESIGN 蕗図蒔絵印籠
Meiji era (1868-1912), circa 1877
With four interlocking cases and cover, of wood covered in chadō-nuri, the sides and top with leaves, shoots, and seed-pods of fuki (butterbur), in gold, silver, and ishime-nuri takamaki-e, the compartments and risers gold nashiji, the shoulders and rims gold fundame; the netsuke of lacquered wood in the form of a group of clams, one of them breathing out a cloud containing a Chinese palace in gold, silver, and red takamaki-e with shell; gold-lacquered ojime (bead) with flowers and butterflies
Signed in scratched characters on the base Zeshin 是真
7.6 × 5.1 × 2.1 cm (3 × 2 × ¾ in.)
With fitted wooden storage box
Provenance:
Inro: sold at Sotheby's, London, November 22-23 1990, cat. no. 190 (Sotheby's 1990)
Exhibited and published: Nezu Bijutsukan 2012, no. 77
(2).

Footnotes

  • Zeshin depicted the butterbur (bog rhubarb) plant, with its giant leaves, in two panels dating respectively from 1877 and 1882 (Nezu Bijutsukan 2012, cat. no. 51 and Earle 1996, cat. no. 27). The earlier of the two panels uses very similar techniques to the present lot, suggesting that it may have been made around the same time. The season expressed in this design is spring, when the shoots of fuki can be fried as tempura or used to flavour miso paste.
    The idea of the 'Clam's Dream', seen on the netsuke, derives from a Chinese chronicle of the first century B.C., where it is stated that when a huge clam breathes on the surface of the sea it makes the shape of a city with buildings. The motif was popular from the late eighteenth century thanks to its appearance in an illustrated book (Toriyama 1781).
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