Bonhams To Auction Five Meiji Masterpieces

Five exquisite items from the Meiji Period, including delicate cloisonné and magnificent ironwork, will lead the Fine Japanese Art auction at Bonhams New Bond Street London on the 14th May. Estimates for the lots, made by some of the greatest craftsmen of the era, range from £5,000-8,000 to £30,000-40,000.

The nation’s success during this period was reflected in the quality of its artisans, and Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927), the creator of two items offered at Bonhams, was among the very greatest.

The auction of these items follows the highly successful non-selling exhibition of Meiji-era craft, titled ‘Transformation, Summation, Creation’, which took place at Bonhams New York from 12 - 22 March as part of the Asia Week events. The exhibition showcased 22 works by some of the leading Japanese artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Meiji period began in 1868 with the defeat of the forces of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the last feudal military government of Japan, by the armies seeking the restoration of Emperor Meiji. The victory ushered in the new era of Meiji, meaning ‘enlightened rule,’ which lasted until the death of the Emperor on 30 July 1912. Under his rule, Japan underwent social, political and industrial revolution, and emerged as one of the world’s great powers.

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