A pair of medium size guardians, nio. The one on the right with his mouth closed wards off evil with one hand and holding a now lost object in the other. The Nio on the left, with his mouth wide open, holds a single pronged vajra in one hand while warding off evil with the other. Soft wood (kiri or sugi) with lots of traces of mineral colors (red, blue, green). Japan, Edo period, late 18th, early 19th century.
Height: circa 33.5 inches.
Some repairs, few cracks, basically in very good and stable condition.
A pair of nio figures, standing on a rock-shaped base. Wood with red, black ochre and green lacquer. The eyes inlaid in glass or crystal. Typical style of an unidentified studio that has been active at least since the 18th century and that often produced oni no nembutsu, ceremonial dagger holder in the shape of demons and other often witty subject matter. Japan, early 19th century.
Height: circa 20.5 inches and 21 inches.
A: wooden kegs in feet re-placed and refitted (with pegs). A and Um: Some restored and unrestored cracks, all in all excellent condition.
De-accessioned from the Denver Art Museum. Original label still on the bottom.
Study of an elephant holding a piece of wood with its trunk, his skin hanging loosely about him. Dark brown patinated, light weight wood, the eyes inlaid in buffalo horn, the tusks bone. Japan, 19th century.
Length: 15.5 inches (39.1 cm)
Pupil to one eye missing, otherwise fine condition.
The messenger of the Dragon King of the Sea, holding up a tide ruling jewel. Very rare tagayasan (cassia wood) carved base in the shape of a three-clawed dragon, surrounded by waves that carry the tide ruling jewel, a virtually clear rock crystal ball. Tagayasan base carved and composed in yosegi saiku technique, which is commonly applied in Buddhist sculpture. The base covered in nashiji lacquer. Japan, Edo period, around 1800. Unsigned.
Total height: Circa 8.5 inches . Diameter of ball: 4 inches (10 cm).
Few burned spots, several breaks and losses in the base, due to the nature of the wood. The crystal is virtually clear with very few inclusions (two kinds) and with a few blemishes to surface.
Tagayasan is extremely difficult to carve, as the structure of the wood makes it very brittle, even though tagayasan is considered a hardwood. But the play of the dark and light lines make it extremely beautiful. Tagayasan is usually used for smaller carvings as netsuke, very rarely for larger sculptures.
Study of a human skull in a soft metal alloy, most likely lead, perhaps pewter. Heavy. Along the temples slightly raised striation. The piece has been handled a lot and used and paper weight, which accounts for the abrasions and dents. Signature in raised technique, imitating an inlaid plaque. Japan, 19th century.
Height: 1 ¾ inches; length: 2 ½ inches.
Abrasions and nicks, due to the softness of the material. All in all excellent condition.
Rare sculpture of a bronze elephant, reclining holding up his head and throwing his trunk up in the air. Traces of former gilding. Japan, Edo period, 18th century.
Length: 7 ½ inches; height: 6 ¾ inches.
Few scratches on bottom, excellent condition.
Large pair of cranes, standing. One has its neck and beak stretched upwards, the other has its neck curved down. Cast bronze. Japan, latter half Meiji period.
Height: ca. 49 and 39.5 inches (124.5 and 100.5 cm).
Small repair at one of the legs, some paint spatter, little oxidation, excellent condition.
Small figure of a tiger, sitting on a rocky base, tail curled around his haunches, his head up as if picking up a scent. Cast in two pieces, but securely mounted. Signed on bottom: Shohoken. Japan, Nagasaki?, Edo period.
Height: ca. 3.1 inches (7.8 cm).
Fine condition. Some scratches on the bottom.
Wooden sculpture of the bodhisattva Jizo, hands folded together in prayer, standing on a lotus base. His face very serene and beautiful. Surface darkened by soot, some lighter color still visible, crystal eyes. Head loose, inside piece of paper rolled onto a wooden stick. Japan, Edo period, 18th century.
Height 14.75 inches (37.5 cm).
Fine crackle in face, otherwise good condition.
Small sculpture in wood of a well dressed man, probably a reciting priest, his hands folded in his lap. Excellent carving with fine detail, pupil in the eyes inlaid in black. Japan, Edo period.
H 3.25 inches (8.2 cm).
Few very thin stress cracks in bottom, one restored corner in a sleeve.
Small wooden carving of excellent quality: tiger with flaming groin, looking back and fiercely growling, standing on a rock between stalks of bamboo. Beautiful piece of hard wood, some red color around the mouth, eyes inlaid in brass. Although carved in three dimensions, it is meant to be seen frontally only. Japan, Meiji period, 19th century.
L 18.5 inches (47 cm), H 4.6 inches (11.8 cm).
Few tension cracks without consequences, excellent condition.
Fine wooden sculpture of the bodhisattva Jizo sitting on a rock, one leg crossed, the other one down. On his knee sits a young boy. Jizo wears a typical head cover. Robes elegantly draped in this very delicate carving. Dark stained wood with eyes of glass. Japan, Edo period, 19th century.
H 8.25 inches (21 cm)
Attribute in his right hand missing, few chips especially around the seam of the face. Otherwise excellent condition.
Finely carved wooden figure of the bodhisattva Monju, sitting on a lotus throne on the back of a lion. Behind him a finely carve mandorla in ajour. The lion is standing with each foot on a lotus base, mounted on a base plate, his long tail stretched out, almost straight. The figure decorated in green, red and gold lacquer. Japan, Meiji era.
Height to tip of mandorla: 14 in. (35.5 cm); length: 8 ¼ in. (21 cm) ; width: 4 7/8 in. (12.2 cm).
Some lacquer chips at the feet of the base, some tiny, old chips at the mane and at the clothes, unimportant repair at stick of mandorla. All in all very good condition.
Wooden figure of a lion, companion to Monju bosatsu, with a lotus base on his back. The lion stands on high and slightly stiff legs, all feet positioned on a small lotus base. On his back the Bodhisattva Monju was seated, today missing. Carving made of several blocks of wood, a technique that is called yosegi saiku and that was widely used for complex sculptures like these. Tail is loose, lotus base is in two segments, loosely joined onto the back with a wooden peg. The rather folky character of it makes it an extremely charming piece. Japan, Muromachi period, 15/16th century.
Height 17 ½ in., length 21 in., depth 6 ½ in. (44.5 x 53 x 17 cm).
Some edges of the different blocks chipped, chip to lotus base, chips to the tips of mane on head and to hair tufts at legs. Basically very good and stable condition.
Rare pair of shrine guardians in the shape of foxes, both sitting on a two tiered elevation. The right one holds a moving jewel in its mouth, the left one a stick. Middle brown, dense wood with a beautiful patina where hands touched the backs and heads of the foxes and the bases. Red staining on inside of ears, inside the mouths, in nostrils. Crystal eyes. Bases made of the same wood. Bases inscribed: Hono, Osaka, shinshachu (in faith of mankind); Hokkinin (sponsors), Osaka, Minami Horie, jogo: one base with the name Umezaki Jisaburo, the other with the name Shimezaka Jihei. The bottoms of the bases signed in black ink: Sowajima … minami … Shitakawa Yasujiro chokoku (carved by Shitakawa Yasujiro). Japan, Meiji period.
Height with base: ca. 27 in. (ca. 70 cm), height base: ca. 9 ¾ in. (ca. 25 cm).
Fox with jewel: short crack at right hindpaw, cracks in the body that show less or worse, depending on temperature/humidity, few abrasion and chips at feet. Fox with stick: cracks in the body that show less or worse, depending on temperature/humidity, few abrasion and chips at feet, stick of later date. All in all very good condition.
Minami Horie is a district in Osaka, west of the quarter of Minami, where the bunraku, kabuki and no theaters are. The pieces must have been standing in front of a Shinto shrine that no longer exists today.
Small sculpture of the bodhisattva Myoken, standing on the back of a giant turtle with a dragon-like head, the tail of long algae standing up. Myoken is leaning on his long sword. Myoken is the deity of the Polar Star and of the Big Dipper. Simple wooden carving, covered with a thick layer of soot, which hides any original staining or coloring. On top of the soot details have been outlined in gold at a later date. The sculpture is mounted on a wooden base. Japan, Edo period, 18th century.
Height without base: 10 1/8 in. (25.7 cm).
Head of turtle broken off and restored with wooden pegs (earlier date), Myoken re-glued to back of the turtle, sword replaced. All in all good condition.
Fairly massive stone figure of the deity Fudo Myoo, standing straight before his flaming mandorla, holding up his sword in his right hand, the rope in his left. Sandstone. Japan, 19th century.
Measurements approximately: height 26 in., width 13 ¾ in., depth 7 in. (65 x 35 x 18 cm).
Damage two places at the top of the mandorla, some haircracks in the surface of body and of the mandorla, surface of feet rubbed. All in all very good condition.
Wooden figure of an unidentified patriarch of one of the many Buddhist sects, sitting on a double base. He sits in the classic posture with the soles of his feet laid together. From underneath his left sleeve pops out a ryui scepter. His widely spread-out red garment is decorated with flower designs in gold, as are the sides of the upper part of the base he is sitting on. His head is covered with a black cloth with traces of flower decoration in gold. Although to date unidentified, the garment and the base indicate a patriarch or a member of the priesthood. Japan, Edo period, 19th century.
Height 5 1/2 in., width 5 7/8 in., depth 4 in.
Some paint chipping off, few cracks along the seams of the wooden blocks, something missing on the back (hole), face and head cloth with restoration. Ryui scepter repaired. Basically in good and stable condition with traces of age.