A fine Japanese cast-iron lantern resembling a pagoda and dating to the early 20th C. Traditionally hung at the porch to a Japanese house or under the eaves of a temple. The door latch are and hinges are in full working order. A ring running through top will allow for the lantern to be hung and a small hole will let an electrical cord run through it. Dimensions: 11" x 12" (28cm x 30cm). Can be used as an interior or garden feature.
An interesting accordion album containing 26 hand-drawn and painted erotic shunga images. Delicately worked in minute detail on very thin paper. The images include various popular shunga themes and graphic depictions of male and female genitalia in all their splendour. Dating to the late Edo period. Dimensions: 8 1/2" x 6 1/2" (21cm x 17cm x 3cm). Price includes S+H.
A rare Edo period Japanese Hiragata or adult toy. Named after Benten or Otafaku (the Hindu patron saint of nymphs). This one has been hand carved out of either buffalo horn or tortoise shell and is hollow. The artist skillfully doing his best to emulate the 'real thing' with generous ripples and curves. When soaked in warm water, these were supposedly better than the real thing. It is also understood that items such as this were an early form of contraception, hence the hollowed out interior. Examples of these old sex toys are found in several sex museums around Japan. This piece comes with an old paulownia wood box and measures 5 1/2" x 1 1/2".
A late 19th C. gilded wooden state of Amida Nyorai or Amitabha the Buddha. Standing on a lotus flower and tiered platform with a gilded canopy above him. The statue is finely carved and the gilding has tarnished and received numerous layers of fine soot. There are no breaks to both hands and feet and all digits are present. As per tradition, the canopy and stand were probably replaced but the statue left untouched. Dimensions: 14.5" tall x 5" x 3". There is some insect damage to the top of the canopy while the rest of the piece is just as it was found.
A pair of antique Japanese byoubu feet or end stoppers dating to the late Edo or Meiji period. These feet would fit over the end panels and help secure the screen and stop it from moving. Made of a light clay; most likely raku with a thick green oribe type glaze covering it. Once an indispensable part of screen furniture, these items are rarely found these days. Dimensions: 6" x 3.5" x 3". Overall condition is good with several small chips but no repairs.
A superb Japanese Buddhist temple bell dating to the early twentieth century. The bell comes from an old Buddhist temple in Kyoto prefecture. The Bronze exhibits an excellent patina throughout. Intricate surface design includes two striking places in the shape of the Buddhist Eight Fold Wheel of Life. There are various lines and four sets of sixteen nipples: sixty-four in all; the number having a religious significance. The top of the bell is decorated with two conjoined dragon's heads with a lotus flower bud at the peak. The word Buddha means to awaken, and so the sound of bells is central to Buddhist practices. In Japan, these bells are rung 108 times on New Year's Eve. It is believed that this number corresponds to the 108 evil thoughts in Buddhism and that the ringing drives them away. This bell has been struck many times and the timbre produced when struck now is still serene. Dimensions: 22" x 12 1/2". Weight 22kg. An excellent addition to any collection of Japanese Buddhist items or garden display.
An interesting blue and white imari bowl depicting Daruma the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism. Dating to the Meiji period (1868-1912) this bowl is entirely hand painted and signed "Shuzan". Very fine brushwork on Daruma's expression with his earring painted in red glaze. The reverse of the bowl features stylized scrolls and tamas (sacred Buddhist balls). Dimensions: 7 1/4" x 3". An interesting addition to any collection of Zen Buddhist art.
A superb antique Japanese ivory manju style netsuke dating to the late Edo period. The piece is signed by an artist called "Itokusai". The front features daruma complete with earring and hairy chest looking out of his cave window. The reverse features a hossu or fly whisk, signature and another window. A manju netsuke such as this would have been attached to a tobacco or other pouch and tucked into an obi. The ivory has yellowed and aged gracefully over the years. A must for the collector of zen art. Dimensions; 4.5cm x 1.5cm.
Oiran were high-ranking courtesans of the feudal period who wore tall lacquered footwear or Koma-geta (or mitsu-ashi - three legs). Unlike geisha and maiko, who only entertained by conversation, singing and dancing, oiran and tayuu were the highest rank in the hierarchy of prostitution in the pleasure quarters. Whereas geisha and maiko wear tabi socks, the oiran and tayuu preferred not to do so (even in winter!) and their toes can be seen poking out under many layers of kimono while wearing these tall geta. A tiny hint of bare flesh must have been very appealing in the Edo period! These shoes were most likely worn to ensure there was no confusion between geisha, maiko and oiran / tayuu. However, an amazing skill of balance must have been required to walk with these geta with their 10" platforms! One sometimes sees maiko hobbling along in okobo, but the pace must have been even more arduous in these tall geta. This particular pair is most likely Taisho period (1912-1926) or early 20thC (or maybe even older). The base is wood which has been lacquered with a straw foot plate. The 'thongs' are cotton covered in rich brocade. This thong section would have been periodically changed. This pair are not new and have been worn slightly. Dimensions: 12" x 6 1/2" x 8 3/4". An absolute must for those with a foot fetish or collection of footwear.
An antique Japanese samurai chochin kabuto dating from the mid to late Edo period (1780-1850). Ingenious design allows helmet to be folded down to minimize space during travel. Constructed from four concentric sections and a three lame shikoro. The 'swivel bar' is kept in place by a securing pin that rotates to lock bar in place. The helmet is iron throughout finished in black lacquer with blue silk odoshi lacing. The helmet hand-stitched liner and chin cords / shin obi-no-o are original to the helmet. Chochin kabuto were used by both high and low ranking samurai but the quality of this piece favors the former group. Overall condition is good with loss of lacquer in places but all the lacing is intact with no breaks. Chochin kabuto are rare and this would make an excellent addition to any collection of samurai helmets or items. Dimensions: 13" x 12 1/2" x 10".