The Kura - Japanese Art Treasures
Robert Mangold has been working with Japanese antiques since 1995 with an emphasis on ceramics, Paintings, Armour and Buddhist furniture.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Paintings : Pre 1920 item #1492549 (stock #Z093)
The Kura
$1,000.00
A ghost rises from the darkness pulling on her hair, a wry grin as she looks sideways at the viewer on this antique painting by Moriwaki Unkei. Ink on paper completely cleaned and remounted in vine patterned blue silk with dark wood rollers. There are old age stains on the paper, which appear much stronger in the photos than in life. It is 40 x 200 cm (15-3/4 x 78-3/4 inches) and in excellent condition.
Moriwaki Unkei (1858-1946) was born in Tanakura-cho, Kawaetsu-han (Fukushima prefecture), in the final years of the Edo period. He studied Nanga, literati painting, then moved to Tokyo in 1899 where he helped found the Nihon Nansoga-kai painting organization. His works were shown at the Naikoku Hakurankai and Bunten National Exhibitions among others.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Tea Articles : Pre 1930 item #1488432
The Kura
$950.00
Autumnal favorites, a basket of Mattake mushrooms and spiny cluster of chestnuts have been carved into the surface of this pine-wood tray by Ichikawa Shudo dated on back to early summer, 1915 and signed Kochikusai Shudo-to (Carved by Kochikusai Shudo). It is 49 x 31 x 3 cm (roughly 19-1/2 x 15-1/2 x 1 inches) and is in excellent condition. Ichikawa Shudo (1868-1933), also known as Shochikusai, brought unique characteristics to Himeji's wood crafts, leaving behind many elegant Sencha-style trays with his outstanding technique.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1800 item #1491100 (stock #K007)
The Kura
$950.00
A crusty wood fired Bizen dish with looping handle, one hemisphere rounded, the other pinched as if for pouring, dating from the Edo period enclosed in an ancient custom fit lacquered Kiri-wood box. It is 23.5 x 22cm x 12.5 cm (roughly 9 inches diameter, 5 inches tall) and is in surprisingly excellent overall condition, with a few nicks to the edge of the foot consistent with age. Evidencing the centuries, there is a loss near the handle to some thicker glaze encrustation. This only happens with Bizen after a great deal of time. A dish like this would have been used for serving sweets in a tea room, or perhaps some skewered grilled fish in a traditional meal. The Bizen pottery tradition in Japan dates back over a thousand years, tracing its roots to the Heian period (794-1185). Located in the Okayama Prefecture, the Bizen region has been renowned for its unique style of pottery, characterized by rustic simplicity, earthy textures, and natural aesthetics. The firing process allows for the spontaneous creation of unpredictable patterns and colors on the pottery's surface. These effects result from the interaction of flames, ash, and minerals present in the clay during the high-temperature firing, reaching up to 1300 degrees Celsius. Bizen ware typically features unglazed surfaces, showcasing the natural qualities of the clay itself. The pottery's reddish-brown coloration, derived from the iron-rich clay native to the Bizen region, is emblematic of its organic appeal. Simplicity of form enhances the pottery's charm. Its rustic elegance and understated sophistication resonate with collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Paintings : Pre 1900 item #1492548 (stock #Z094)
The Kura
$950.00
Long verses fall like rain upon the sinister figure of an Oni (type of devil) dressed in the habit of a priest who glares as he walks through the village, banging out a warning to all evil-doers. Around his neck hangs a bell which he clangs loudly with the hammer held high in one hand. The stern figure carries in the other hand a booklet titled Hogacho. A Hogacho is a record of the name and quantity of persons who donated (hoga) for projects such as the construction and repair of temples or shrines and the publication of scriptures. In the case of the Oni, his Hogacho records the sins and misdeeds of humans for payment in the after world. On his back is an umbrella. Ink on paper in a simple brown cloth border with highlights of Kinran gold in the Ichimonji above and below with dark lacquered wooden rollers like the shift of a priest moving to reveal the regal robes beneath. It is 39.7 x 179 cm (15-1/2 x 70-1/2 inches) and has been completely cleaned and remounted.
The Oni, often depicted as hulking, fearsome creatures with horns, sharp claws, and a menacing appearance, are a prominent feature in Japanese folklore, Buddhist lore, and broader Japanese culture. Their role and representation have evolved over time, encompassing a range of meanings and functions across different contexts.
In folklore, Oni are typically portrayed as malevolent spirits or demons representing chaos, destruction, and malevolence. They are often depicted as ogre-like beings with red or blue skin, wild hair, and tusks. They are known to cause mischief, bring calamities, and even consume human flesh. Oni are common antagonists in folktales, serving as the embodiment of evil and chaos. However, Oni can also have more nuanced roles. In some stories, they are not purely evil but rather more complex characters with a potential for redemption. Thus in Buddhist tradition, Oni take on additional layers of symbolism. They are often seen as the enforcers in hell (Jigoku), punishing the wicked for their sins. In this context, Oni are agents of karmic retribution, ensuring that sinners face the consequences of their actions. This role reinforces the moral lessons of Buddhism, emphasizing the importance of virtuous behavior to avoid suffering in the afterlife. Sometimes the concept of Oni in Buddhism is more metaphorical, representing inner demons or the obstacles one must overcome on the path to enlightenment. They symbolize inner struggles with the vices and negative emotions such as anger, greed, and ignorance that hinder spiritual progress.
In contemporary Japanese culture, Oni have become more multifaceted. They appear in various media, including literature, art, film, and video games, often with different interpretations. While they still retain their traditional fearsome attributes, they are sometimes depicted in a more humorous or sympathetic light. For example, the Oni character in the popular manga and anime "Dragon Ball" is portrayed as a bureaucratic worker in the afterlife, adding a humorous twist to their traditional role. They also feature prominently in cultural festivals such as Setsubun, celebrated on February 3rd during which people perform rituals to drive away evil spirits. One common practice is the throwing of roasted soybeans (mamemaki) while chanting "Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi" ("Oni out, good fortune in"), which is meant to cleanse the home and welcome good luck.
The enduring presence and adaptability of the Oni in Japanese culture underscore their significance as both a reflection of societal values and a versatile symbol in the collective imagination.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Sculpture : Pre 1900 item #1492677 (stock #K064)
The Kura
$950.00
A pair of masks representing the two variations of Tengu, the long nosed Tengu and the Karasu (Crow) Tengu mounted on a wooden placard dating from the Meiji period. Each mask is of carved and lacquered wood with inset glass eyes. The placard is 38cm (15 inches) wide 22.5 cm (9 inches) tall and the masks are roughly 11 cm (4 inches plus) in depth. It looks as if the Karasu Tengu mask has had the eyes repaired, and they appear cloudy by comparison to those of the the long nosed partner.
The long-nosed and or Beaked Tengu is a mythical creature from Japanese folklore. Tengu are believed to be supernatural beings often depicted with human and bird-like features. They're known for their long noses, which can vary in length depending on the depiction. Tengu are often associated with mountain forests and are considered protectors of the mountains. They are known for their mischievous nature, martial arts prowess, and sometimes for teaching humans valuable lessons or skills. In Japanese culture, Tengu are a fascinating blend of reverence and fear, embodying both the spiritual and the natural worlds.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1700 item #1487575
The Kura
$900.00
A lovely chawan made of three separate excavated shards connected by lines of gold dating from the Kamakura to early Muromachi periods (13th to 14th centuries). It is 15.7 cm diameter, 7 cm tall and in excellent condition, enclosed in an old wooden box.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1900 item #1490965
The Kura
$900.00
A crane rises elegantly from a truncated tree, the legs intricately crafted and the body flowing in a liquid grace. This is Bizen Saikumono, a body of Bizen popular throughout the Edo, Meiji and early 20th centuries. Craftsman carved wild animals, mythical beasts, human figures and many other figures out of the smooth Bizen clay, relying on perfection of form, allowing the firing to add color without overt decoration. This figure is 34 cm (13-1/2 inches) tall and in excellent condition. It comes in a period wooden box dated the 8th month of Koka 3 (1846). As one might expect from something nearly two hundred years old, there is a well done invisible repair in the neck, otherwise is in excellent condition.
The Bizen pottery tradition in Japan dates back over a thousand years, tracing its roots to the Heian period (794-1185). Located in the Okayama Prefecture, the Bizen region has been renowned for its unique style of pottery, characterized by rustic simplicity, earthy textures, and natural aesthetics. The beauty of Bizen pottery lies in its adherence to wood-fired kilns. The firing process is crucial, as it allows for the spontaneous creation of unpredictable patterns and colors on the pottery's surface. These effects result from the interaction of flames, ash, and minerals present in the clay during the high-temperature firing, reaching up to 1300 degrees Celsius. Bizen ware typically features unglazed surfaces, showcasing the natural qualities of the clay itself. The pottery's reddish-brown coloration, derived from the iron-rich clay native to the Bizen region, is emblematic of its organic appeal. Saiku-mono or figurative pottery works have their roots much further back, but were very popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Simplicity of form, often inspired by nature and everyday objects, enhances the pottery's charm. Its rustic elegance and understated sophistication resonate with collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Metalwork : Pre 1900 item #1492442 (stock #K058)
The Kura
$900.00
A wildly crafted bronze image of a shishi lion breathing out a cloud forming the basin for a flower arrangement (known as an usubata). The curly hair has been somehow flaked off and maintained during the casting process, quite an exceptional example. The basin can be removed from the mouth of the creature. Assembled it is 32 x 28 x 33 cm tall (12-3/4 x 11-1/4 x 13 inches) and weighs 4390 grams (9.5 pounds). It is in fine original condition.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Lacquer : Pre 1930 item #1491557 (stock #K023)
The Kura
$850.00
A fascinating Jar-shaped set of stacking food boxes known as a Jubako in multi-color dating from the early 20th century. Jubako were used to serve food to groups or family on festive occasions, where the food was presented in the box, and each person would take what they wanted, rather than have the meal served on individual dishes as in more formal Kaiseki meals. Assembled it is 20 cm (8 inches) diameter 32.5 cm (13 inches) tall and is in overall excellent condition.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Paintings : Pre 1930 item #1491781 (stock #N12)
The Kura
$850.00
A sparse image of tiny boats, sails stretched with wind floating out off the coast by Shirakura Niho enclosed in the original signed wooden box titled Enko Hobari (Sails Stretched in the Distant Harbor). Pigment on silk bordered in patterned cloth extended in beige. The scroll is 65.5 x 132.5 cm (25-3/4 x 52 inches). There is some toning to the silk typical of age, but is in overall fine condition.
Shirakura Kinichiro (Kinro, Niho or Jiho, Kanyu, 1896-1974) was born the first son of lawyer and scholar Shirakura Shigeichi in Shibata city, Niigata. His father was a noted Kangakusha, the pre-modern Japanese study of China; the counterpart of Kokugaku (Japanese Studies) and Yōgaku or Rangaku (Western or “Dutch” Studies). He was initially inducted into the Nanga school of painting at the age of 12 under Hattori Goro. He moved to Tokyo at the age of 17, where he studied Western Oil painting with Oshita Tojiro and watercolor under Ishii Hakutei. Two years later his paintings were first accepted into the 8th Bunten National Exhibition under the name Kinro. That same year his work was honored in the Tokyo Taisho Hakurankai Exposition. In 1915 his paintings were again accepted into the Bunten where they were awarded Nyusen status. Despite his initial successes, he paled on Western painting and in 1917 decided to return to the Nanga school joining his initial teacher Hattori Goro who had relocated to Kyoto and it was from Goro that he received the name Niho which we know he was using by mid 1920 when Hattori fell ill, and Niho moved by introduction to study under Tajika Chikuson. In 1921, along with Komura Suiun, Ikeda Keisen, Yano Kyoson, Mizuta Chikuho, Mitsui Hanzan, and Kono Shuson he became a founding member of the Nihon Nanga-In society of literati artists. That same year his first collection of paintings was published, and he began a two year journey in China, which had become a Mecca for Japanese artists. He would consistently display at the Bunten/Teiten where he was consistently awarded, as well as the Nihon Nanga-In. In 1926 he would move to the tutelage of Komura Suiun in Tokyo, and be awarded at the Fist Shotoku Taishi Art Exhibition. He began exhibiting at the newly formed Nanga Renmei Exhibition in 1937 and in 1938 he established his own art salon. In 1940 he would change his name from Niho to Kanyu. Post war his participation in art expositions becomes sporadic. His final known painting, of Nijo castle, created in 1972 is held in the Kyoto prefectural Archives. Other work by him is held in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, the Kyoto Municipal Kyocera Museum, the Nîgata Prefectural Museum of Art, the Tenmon Museum in Osaka, the Korean National Museum in Seoul, the Smithsonian in Washington DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Kaluz Museum in Mexico City among others.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1920 item #1491861 (stock #K022)
The Kura
$850.00
A masterpiece of Akahada Pottery ware in the shape of a wooden bucket with elaborate scrolling feet from the kiln of Okuda Mokuhaku. It is 18 x 18 x 19 cm (7 x 7 x 7-1/2 inches) and is in excellent condition, enclosed in a modern wooden collector’s box.
Okuda Mokuhaku (1800-1871) was born the son of a merchant in Sakai Machi Yamato Koriyama in Nara Prefecture that served the local lords with hair ornaments, make-up supplies and other fashionable items. His given name was Kamematsu, which was changed to Sahe-e upon reaching adulthood. He was enthralled with the tea ceremony from a young age, and enjoyed making Raku ware, so it was no surprise later when he quit the family business and became a potter. He established the pottery style known today as Akahada-yaki. With his outstanding design and technical prowess, Akahada pottery came to be highly regarded as utensils for the Japanese tea ceremony, earning him the reputation as a master craftsman of the Edo period who made Akahada pottery known to the world.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1900 item #1485802
The Kura
$800.00
Lavender and aquamarine coat the surface of this vase from the Kairakuen Kilns of the Ki branch of the Tokugawa family dating from the 19th century. The circular window between floral scrolls is made in the shape of the archaic character Kotobuki. The vase is 18 cm (7 inches) tall and in excellent condition, and bears the Kairakuen seal impressed into the base. It comes enclosed in an old kiri-wood collectors box titled Kairakuen-ki Juji Moyo Kabin (Kairakuen Vessel decorated with Character of fortune).
The Kairakuen kiln was the "garden kiln" sponsored by the Kii branch of the Tokugawa house, in modern day Wakayama founded in 1819. It operated irregularly, drawing upon the services of potters from various Kyoto workshops including the 9th and 10th Omotesenkei Heads Ryoryosai (1775-1825) and Kyukosai (1818-1860), 10th Raku Master Raku Tanyu (1795-1854), and Eiraku Zengoro XI (Nishimura Hozen, 1795–1854) among others . Kairakuen products reflect a marked revival of interest in Chinese ceramics in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This vase, with its restrained shape and overall turquoise enamel glaze, follows Qing [Ch'ing] dynasty ceramic models. The design of the four-character mark, "Made at Kairakuen," imitates enamel four-character seals appearing on Qing [Ch'ing] imperial wares.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Lacquer : Pre 1800 item #1487278
The Kura
$800.00
A bucolic scene of temples and rugged seaside hills dotted with pagodas in silver and gold wraps around the black surface of this deep tray dating from the Momoyama to early Edo period (16th-17th century). It is 27 cm (10-1/2 inches) diameter, 8.5 cm (3-3/8 inches) tall. The bottom has been re-lacquered at some time in the past. There is wear and cracks to the inside typical of age and use, and the rim has been re-done in gin-dame powdered tarnished-silver, which blends well with the ancient feeling of the piece.
All Items : Vintage Arts : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Baskets : Pre 1990 item #1492453 (stock #K066)
The Kura
$800.00
A cocoon shaped basket of tight weave with bamboo insert made for wall hanging by Maeda Chikubosai II enclosed in the original signed wooden box titled Kake Kaki (Hanging Flower Receptacle). It is roughly 16 cm (6 plus inches) diameter, 19 cm (7-1/2 inches) tall and is in excellent condition.
Maeda Chikubosai II (1917-2003), was born when his father, Chikubosai I (1872-1950) was already quite mature. Initially he studied plaiting techniques from younger artists in the family studio, and once mastered studied under his father, and Yamamoto Chikuryosai I (Shoen), becoming an independent artist in 1941 and succeeding to the Chikubosai name in 1950. He was accepted into the Nitten National Exhibition in 1953, and exhibited there consistently as well as in the Japan Traditional Crafts Exhibition (Dento Kogeiten). He was honored by the Japanese government in 1992, and was named a Living National Treasure for the bamboo crafts in 1995. Work by him is held in the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Paintings : Pre 1900 item #1486080
The Kura
$780.00
A hand painted cloth banner decorated with imagery by various artists including the Nanga School literati artists Tanomura Chokunyu (1814-1907) and Nakanishi Koseki (1807-1884) as well as Tanaka Koha of the Kagetsuan School of Sencha and Confucian scholar Goto Shoin (1797-1864) and Hirose Kyokuso (1807-1863) who were two of the most important followers of Rai Sanyo. The date Konoe-saru (year of the monkey in metal) is visible in both the central leaf and the lower left gourd image. Judging then by the 60 year cyclical zodiac calendar it dates from the fifth month of 1860. The title, signed Shochiku-Rojin (the old man Shochiku), reads Betsu-yu-ten-chi-hi-jin-kan, a poetic phrase meaning there are other worlds aside from that of the human plane, specifically alluding to a world without human desire. Perhaps when these learned gentlemen gathered for tea beyond this curtain, they felt that they had experienced one of these other worlds. The cloth is 91 x 160 cm (36 x 63 inches) including a pouch through which a bamboo stave would have been run for hanging. Toned somewhat with age, the fibers are strong.
All Items : Artists : Metalwork : Contemporary item #1492480 (stock #K065)
The Kura
$750.00
A Fine modernist vase by master of the Japanese bronze tradition, world renowned Hasuda Shugoro, enclosed in the original signed wooden box titled Seido Tsubo, Shajiku (Pure Bronze Vase, Hub). The contemporary belted form is finished with matte olive patination. It is 15 cm (6 inches) diameter, 19 cm (just under 8 inches) tall and in excellent condition. The box is dated on the side an auspicious day in the 4th month of Heisei 8 (1996).
Hasuda Shugoro was born in Kanazawa City in 1915. After graduating the Ishikawa Prefectural Industrial School, he moved to the Tokyo School of Art. Much lauded his first award was at the 5th Nitten in 1949 and he received the Hokuto-sho there in 1953 among many further prizes. He participated in the founding of the Creative Crafts Association in 1961 and founded the Japan Metal Sculpture Institute in 1976. Decorated with the Order of Cultural Merit in 1991, Hasuda Shugoro stands as one of the leading modernist artists working in bronze during the Post-War Period. A vase by the artist sold at Christies in 2012 for 2,500 pounds (roughly 4,000 dollars). For more on this artist see Hasuda Shugoro Kinzoku Zokei (1981).
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Metalwork : Pre 1930 item #1493526 (stock #K101)
The Kura
$750.00
A timid looking creature in dilapidated straw hat sheepishly approaches carrying his ledger and bottle for a refill. A comic image of the Tanuki with his famous beer belly reputation for heavy drinking. One can guess he will be asking for tonight’s bottle on credit as he gazes up, shoulders hunched, pleading. It is 16 cm (6 inches) tall and in excellent condition signed on the back in a silver inlayed cartouche Chikusen.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1900 item #1492088 (stock #K048)
The Kura
$700.00
An Edo period Kogo incense case of pale earth tones decorated with geometric shapes and green copper glaze in the oribe style with a scrawling streak of kintsugi gold extending down two sides. Kintsugi is the art of repairing using lacquer and powdered gold. Kintsugi is a traditional Japanese art form of repairing broken pottery or ceramics using lacquer and powdered precious metals. Instead of hiding the cracks and flaws, kintsugi embraces them and turns them into a beautiful and unique feature of the object. This practice holds several significant cultural and philosophical meanings in Japanese culture. The piece is roughly 7 cm (3 inches) diameter and comes wrapped in an antique padded silk wrapping cloth in an age darkened kiri-wood box with deer leather ties. The box is annotated Ko-Oribe Ume-gata Kogo (Old Oribe Plum-shaped Incense Container) by Seisai, (1863-1937), the 12th head of the Omotesenkei School of Tea. Kintsugi embodies the spirit of wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic worldview centered around imperfection, transience, and the beauty of the natural cycle of growth and decay. Embracing the flawed and broken aspects of an object through kintsugi is a way to appreciate the passage of time and the history of the object, recognizing that it gains value and character through its journey. Kintsugi aligns with traditional Japanese values of frugality and resourcefulness. Instead of discarding broken items, kintsugi repairs them, extending their lifespan and reducing waste. This approach reflects a profound respect for resources and a desire to cherish and honor the objects used in daily life. This is also a way to avoid offending the spirit of the object, as all items are embodied with a soul of some sort. The act of repairing broken pottery with gold-laced lacquer carries a symbolic message of resilience and overcoming adversity. The restored object becomes a metaphor for the human experience, highlighting that even after suffering damage or hardship, one can find beauty and strength through healing and renewal. In the context of the Japanese tea ceremony kintsugi plays a vital role in enhancing the overall aesthetic experience, especially during the tenth month. The practice of kintsugi encourages contemplation and introspection during the tea ceremony. Guests may be reminded of the impermanence of all things and the beauty that can arise from embracing life's scars and vulnerabilities. Overall, kintsugi holds a deep cultural and philosophical significance in Japanese culture, symbolizing beauty in imperfection, respect for resources, and the resilience of both objects and individuals. In the context of the tea ceremony, it enriches the aesthetics and fosters a sense of mindfulness and appreciation for the present moment.