SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) PANEL WITH BELL CRICKETS, GRASSES, AND FULL MOON  秋の夜(満月芒鈴虫)蒔絵額 Meiji era (1868–1912), 1877
Lot 7*
SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) PANEL WITH BELL CRICKETS, GRASSES, AND FULL MOON 秋の夜(満月芒鈴虫)蒔絵額
Meiji era (1868–1912), 1877
£150,000 - 200,000
US$ 200,000 - 270,000

Withdrawn
Lot Details
SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) PANEL WITH BELL CRICKETS, GRASSES, AND FULL MOON  秋の夜(満月芒鈴虫)蒔絵額 Meiji era (1868–1912), 1877 SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) PANEL WITH BELL CRICKETS, GRASSES, AND FULL MOON  秋の夜(満月芒鈴虫)蒔絵額 Meiji era (1868–1912), 1877 SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) PANEL WITH BELL CRICKETS, GRASSES, AND FULL MOON  秋の夜(満月芒鈴虫)蒔絵額 Meiji era (1868–1912), 1877 SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) PANEL WITH BELL CRICKETS, GRASSES, AND FULL MOON  秋の夜(満月芒鈴虫)蒔絵額 Meiji era (1868–1912), 1877
SHIBATA ZESHIN 柴田是真 (1807–1891) PANEL WITH BELL CRICKETS, GRASSES, AND FULL MOON 秋の夜(満月芒鈴虫)蒔絵額
Meiji era (1868–1912), 1877
A panel with a highly polished black-lacquer roiro surface worked in relief with the curve of a bank running from top right to bottom left, the moon in silver hiramaki-e merging to silver hirame rising above the bank, curving strands of susuki (plume grass, Miscanthus sinensis) in kuromaki-e (black-on-black maki-e) against the bank and sky, turning to dark brown where they cross the moon, embellished here and there with silver dewdrops, two suzumushi ('bell crickets', Meloimorpha japonicus) on the grasses, in black lacquer takamaki-e, one against the black sky, the other against the moon, all within a removable narrow gold-lacquer border and Western-style frame with curved profile finished in chadō-nuri (a brownish variant of seidō-nuri) perhaps intended to emulate the surface of polished wood

Signed in kuromaki-e at lower right Gyōnen nanajūichi-ō Zeshin sei 行年七十一翁是真製 (Made by Zeshin, aged 71); red lacquer seal: Koma 古満

Overall: 55.9 × 73.4 cm (22 × 28 7/8 in.)
Image: 44.5 × 62 cm (17½ × 24 3/8 in.)


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

Published
Tōkyō Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan (Tokyo National Museum) 2004, cat. no. I-100
Nezu Bijutsukan (Nezu Museum) 2012, cat. no. 50
Takahata and Tsuji 2014, p. 72
Foxwell 2015, p. 50 (fig. 2.2)

With modern fitted wood storage box and cloth-covered slipcase (3)

Footnotes

  • As Chelsea Foxwell has recently noted, framed tablets of this type, in several different media, 'arose to address international expectations and standards' due to the problem that the great international expositions of the later 19th century defined the fine arts as 'sculpture, oil painting, watercolor, drawing, and engraving', leaving no suitable category for the display of traditional Japanese hanging scrolls which were widely regarded in the West as sketches rather than fully finished paintings. As early as the Vienna Weltausstellung (World Exposition) of 1873—among of the first such events to include a significant Japanese component—framed Japanese pictures were exhibited alongside hanging scrolls (Foxwell 2015, pp. 56–58) and Zeshin, ever the willing collaborator of the reforming Meiji government, was more than happy to devise his own unique emulation of the classic Western framed oil painting. He produced several more exercises in this new format during the last two decades of his career, many of them depicting scenes from Japanese nature.

    Among Zeshin's surviving panels, the closest in style and feeling to this one is the Fuki ni kotori e gaku 蕗に小鳥絵額 (Panel with butterbur and small birds) in Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art, also dating from 1877 and shown at the first Naikoku Kangyō Hakurankai (National Industrial Exhibition); see Tōkyō Kokuritsu Bunkazai Kenkyūjo (Tokyo National Research Institution of Cultural Properties), no. I-454. The Ishikawa panel is reproduced alongside the present lot in Tōkyō Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan (Tokyo National Museum) 2004, cat. no. I-102 and Nezu Bijutsukan (Nezu Museum) 2012, cat. no. 51; both publications (cat. no. I-99 and cat. no. 53) also feature the Setchū Sano zu maki-e gaku 雪中佐野図蒔絵額 (Panel with Design of Farmhouse in the Snow at Sano), sold in these rooms in 2014 (see Bonhams 2014, lot 14). Of similar size and proportions (46 × 67.5 cm) to the present lot, the Ishikawa panel shares its subdued palette (although with some limited use of gold takamaki-e) and focuses on a single intimate and atmospheric scene from nature. A lacquer tray by Zeshin with a very similar design is in the Florence and Herbert Irving collection, New York; see Gōke 1981, black-and-white plate 2.

    For further commentary on this remarkable example of Zeshin's most atmospheric manner, see the Collector's Introduction, pages 4-5.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that this lot has been withdrawn.
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