Hanging scroll. Three toads personify war lords waging war against each other, mounted on snails and suzumushi, while ants, bees, spiders, suzumushi, earwigs and praying mantises are doing the actual fighting. Ants with guns in the background. Signed Bunko Shotei ga, and with red seal reading Shotei. Ink and mineral colors on silk. Japan, Edo period, 19th century.
Image: H 37 ½ x W 13 ½ inches; whole H 65 x W 18 ½ inches.
Very rare composition. Most insect paintings depict daimyo procession persiflage (mitate), which is connected to peace time travel to and from the capital.
Although no information can be found on Shotei, the painting is clearly in the tradition of the Maruyama/Shijo school. Most or all paintings with insect processions, or fox processions in light colors, fading into the background were painted by Maruyama/Shijo painters, among whom Nishiyama Hoen. Many of Hoen’s paintings are in the British Museum.
Scroll painting of two intertwining dragons. One coming out of the sky, the other out of the seas. Signed Chikkei Seigyo and two seals, reading Seigyo no in and azana Shofu. Ink on silk. Japan, late Edo period, Bakumatsu.
Painted area: H 50 x W 19 ¾ inches ; whole: 78 ½ x 25 ¼ inches
Nakabayashi Chikkei (1816-1867). Eldest son of Nakabayashi Chikuto. He learned painting from his father initially and then went to Yamamoto Baiitsu to learn nanga, but he also mastered the realistic style used in western painting. Nagoya.
Sculpture of Shomen Kongo, standing with 6 arms, holding ghanta and sword, bow and arrow, halberd and chakra. Shomen Kongo protects against demons and diseases. Wood stained black, with metal parts. Japan, Edo period, shortly after 1800.
H ca. 11 inches.
Sword missing, few traces of usage. All in all very good condition.
Small shrine holding the image of the Buddha Dainichi Nyorai, sitting on a lotus base, before a circular mandorla. Doors decorated on the inside with an exquisitely painted motif of star-shaped flowers. Wood decorated in mineral colors and gold. Very high quality. Thin metal for mandorla and crown. Japan, Edo period, 18th century.
H of case ca. 5 inches.
Most of the crown missing, some traces of usage but all in all in excellent condition.
Kabuto maedate, or ornament that sits in the front of the Japanese helmet. Ornament in the form of a karasu-tengu (crow tengu) mask, as used in the bugaku theater. Thin chased and corroded iron. Japan, 19th century.
H 5 ½ inches.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has a helmet with a similar ornament. Accession no. 36.25.133a–d. Viewable online.
Hanging scroll. The eight-armed deity, bearing arms and a coiled snake (the deity Ugajin) on her head, sits on a lotus-leaf-seat, flanked by Daikoku and Bishamonten. Before her are the 15 disciples, or jugo doji, above her the sun and the moon.. Ink, mineral colors and gold on silk. Japan, Muromachi period, around 1500.
Painted area: H 38 3/8 in. x W 18 5/8 in.
Few horizontal creases, but all in all in excellent condition.
A similar painting of Benzaiten and the 15 disciples is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, inventory no. 11.4107. Even though it dates from an earlier part of the Muromachi period, and the composition is different, there is a striking similarity in the details on the garments and in the hairdo of the doji and the size of the painting. The Tokyo National Museum holds another comparable painting under inventory no. C0018069 /A-1228.
Bronze sculpture of a Dakini, dancing on a human body on a lotus base. Two part cast. Khmer, Bayon style, 19th century or later.
H ca. 13 inches.
Ex Doris Wiener, New York
Small shrine containing the figure of the sitting 11 headed Kannon, holding a flask in his left hand, his head crowned with the 10 heads of the different Buddhist deities, including Amida. He is sitting on a lotus throne that holds inside the figure of a reclining lion. The back of the zushi has a small moveable segment (now glued shut) that is supposed to reveal something in the base of the Kannon. The doors are decorated with inscribed ihai or ancestral tablets set in a field of autumn flowers and river. Japan, late Edo period, 19th century.
H of case 7 inches.
Traces of usage, mainly on the in- and outside of the case, moveable segment glued.
Small shrine with a wooden sculpture of Jizo, standing with a jewel in one hand (which are missing), his staff (which is missing) in the other. Here he is represented as Danda Jizo, assisting those who are suffering in hell and saving small children from the wheel of rebirth. The paintings on the doors show naked children chased by demons in hell. Polychromed wood with delicate details. Metal madorla. Japan, late Edo period, around 1800.
Height zushi: ca. 7 ½ inches.
Paintings on the doors rubbed, hardware fragile but functional. Jizo’s hands and attributes missing, glue stains on his back and feet.
Rare subject. Painting on the left door shows a human pleading with a demon holding a giant club, while below a child is being led away by a female soul. The right hand door shows a large red demon with club, chasing a child, while mothers seem to be wailing.
Shrine with a wooden sculpture of Shichimen Daimyojin in sitting pose, one leg crossed over the other. She sits on the summit of mount Shichimen, one of her shoes by her side, holding a (golden) jewel in her left hand and another object, likely a key that is now missing, in her right hand. The wood decorated with gold and mineral colors. Metal mandorla behind her head, decorated with flaming jewels. Japan, late Edo period, late 18th century.
Height zushi: ca. 11 inches
Some cracks in the wood, flaking lacquer at the base, some cracks in the lacquer on the figure, stabilized with clear finish, all in all in stable condition
Shichimen Daimyojin is the protectress of Minobu, the site of temple Kuonji, general quarters of the Nichiren sect and burial place of the founder of the sect. Mount Shichimen is south of Minobu.
Mori Bunrei (dates unknown). Hanging scroll with painting of insects simulating a samurai traveling with his entourage to or from the capital. A butterfly, suzumushi, praying mantises, yellow jackets and grass hoppers are traveling in a line, carrying flowers and grasses for poles, a hive and berries for luggage. Black ink and colors on silk. Signed Bunrei; two red seals reading bun and rei. Japan, mid 19th / second half 19th century.
Painted area: 14-½ x 20-1/8 inches. Total height: 461½ inches.
Painting with some light stains, otherwise in excellent condition, mounting damaged.
Mori Bunrei was the son and pupil of Mori Ippo (1798–1871), the Shijo painter. His style and technique closely follow those of his father’s.
A very similar painting by Nishiyama Hoen (1804-1867) is in the British Museum. This type of painting is typical for the Maruyama/Shijo school and could have originated with Maruyama Okyo.
Water jar on rounded bottom. Stoneware with dark brown slip-like glaze on the lower part, leaving the bottom free and a thin translucent glaze on the neck and mouth, both with fine crackle. A slender strip of engraved rope design decoration on the shoulder of the receptacle. Seto, Mino ware. Japan, Edo period.
H ca. 8-¼ inches.
Scratches on the body, worn down patches on the mouth, otherwise good condition.
Midsize storage jar of greyish stoneware, with the typical inclusions, with natural ash glaze. Japan, Edo period, 19th century or a bit earlier.
H 11-¼ inches.
Very good condition.
Unusually large sculpture of Daruma, made of a large stone grown into a tree’s root section. This phenomenon is referred to as ishikui (eating stone), ishidake (holding stone) or ishikami (stone gods).
Height: 25.5 inches; width at widest point: ca. 15 inches. Japan, 19th century.
Patina somewhat rubbed at top of the head and shoulders, due to handling, few nicks and chips, all in all very good condition.
Pieces like these are fairly rare and the height is usually around 12 inches. The stone is swallowed up by the tree, while it is growing. It is a phenomenon highly appreciated in bonsai, in which case the tree is manipulated into surrounding the stone. In large, this is a more natural occurrence, growing to look like a person wrapped in a garment, such as Kan’on and, less frequent, Daruma.
Pipecase of the otoshizutsu form carved out of stag antler with a décor in low relief of a tiger crouching on a rock with sprigs of bamboo surrounding the rock. Surrounding the himotoshi is more bamboo. Unsigned. Japan, 19th century.
H 7 7/8 inches
Worn with old damages in thinner areas of the stag horn and small hole approximately where the pipe head would be, further scraped off with a knife.
Comes with a root wood tonkotsu or tobacco container (H: 3 inches) and an ojime made of wood covered with lacquer and with mother-of-pearl inlays.
Stoneware vase of the tokkuri shape, probably made in Seto. Over a greyish brown clay a greenish beige glaze on the body and brown glaze on the neck. Over the glaze an enamel decoration in moriage technique of an octopus and two toads in a tug of war over a basket filled with vegetables. The toads are trying to pull lotus stalks out of the octopus’ tentacles, while the octopus is waving a big daikon over its head. Unsigned. Japan, Meiji period, early 20th century.
Height ca. 9 ¾ inches.
Excellent condition with minimal traces of usage.
Painting of the six-tusked elephant, the companion of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra, being washed and scrubbed by two attendants underneath a tree. Samantabhadra is standing toward the left with two more attendants. Ink and colors on paper. Several seals in all margins, inscription on the upper right. Unidentified artist. China, Qing dynasty, 18th century
Painted area: 55 ¼ x 30 3/8 inches.
Several restored spots and cracks (backed with thin strips of paper), no mounting but the painting is laid down on thin Chinese or Japanese paper.
Small shrine presenting the Buddha of Medicine and Healing, Yakushi Nyorai, standing on a multi-tiered base, holding a sacred jewel in his left hand. Wooden sculpture with finely painted gold decoration. On the gilded doors of the shrine lotus flowers and lotus leaves painted in black ink and mineral colors. The shrine is a black lacquered wooden case. Japan, Edo period, 19th century.
Height shrine: 5.5 inches (14 cm).
Some touch-ups of black lacquer on outside of shrine, otherwise excellent condition.