Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 (1807–1891)  INRŌ WITH MOUSE  二十日鼠図蒔絵印籠  Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890

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Lot 5*
Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 (1807–1891) INRŌ WITH MOUSE 二十日鼠図蒔絵印籠
Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890

Sold for £ 47,500 (US$ 60,038) inc. premium
Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 (1807–1891) INRŌ WITH MOUSE 二十日鼠図蒔絵印籠
Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890
An inrō with three interlocking cases and cover, of standard lenticular cross-section with straight sides, rounded corners, curved top and base, and integrated cord-runners, the body cut from a single block of tagayasan (kassod tree, Senna siamea), decorated on the cover and top with a house mouse in hiramaki-e and takamaki-e of brownish-black lacquer with a minute admixture of orpiment (arsenic sulphide), the fur and whiskers very finely rendered in tsukegaki (fine maki-e lines drawn on top of an existing maki-e ground); on the reverse the mouse's footprints in hiramaki-e; the interior fittings also of tagayasan; copper ojime with wirework decoration; boxwood manjū netsuke carved as a closed 16-petal chrysanthemum blossom and encrusted in shell and lacquer with a ladybird and chrysanthemum leaves and blossom, the himotōshi formed by the chrysanthemum stalk

Signed in gold hiramaki-e on the base Zeshin 是真

Inrō: 8.5 × 5.4 × 1.7 cm (3 3/8 × 2 × 5/8 in.)
Netsuke: 4.3 × 1.6 cm (1¾ × 2 × 5/8 in.)

Fitted wooden storage box (2)

Provenance
Raymond Bushell Collection, purchased at Sotheby's London, 18 June 1997, lot no. 79

Exhibited and Published
Bushell 1979, pp. 112–3, no. 77
Nezu Bijutsukan 2012, cat. no. 90

Footnotes

  • In his catalogue note for the 2012 Zeshin exhibition at the Nezu Museum, Takao Yō notes that an inrō with this design, but on a roiro ground and with the footprints carved in subori, remained in Zeshin's Tairyūkyo residence after his death; an original drawing for an inrō with the same motif is reproduced in Shikki zuroku, a collection of lacquer designs originally compiled by Zeshin's eldest son Reisai (1850–1915) and re-published posthumously in 1916 (see Nihon Shikkō Kai 1896, vol. 6 and Gōke 1981, supplementary volume, fig. no. 298).

    For alternative treatments of this favourite subject of Zeshin's, see Herberts 1962, pp. 154–5, an inrō with shibuichi-nuri ground and a mouse in black lacquer, and Lewis and Earle 1996, p. 164, cat. no. 72, another inrō, featuring bursting pods of tōgarashi (red pepper) on the reverse.

    A leguminous tree native to South-East Asia, from the medieval period onwards the tagayasan was prized in Japan for its fine-grained, durable timber.
Contacts
Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 (1807–1891)  INRŌ WITH MOUSE  二十日鼠図蒔絵印籠  Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890
Shibata Zeshin 柴田是真 (1807–1891)  INRŌ WITH MOUSE  二十日鼠図蒔絵印籠  Meiji era (1868–1912), circa 1870–1890
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