Swords, netsukes on the rise in Asian arts auction April 8

Asian arts auction

Japanese tanto, Mino province, signed Kanenori, 1532-1555, 11¾in. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000. Jasper52 image

NEW YORK – Antique Japanese bladed weapons and finely carved netsukes are the featured attractions in an Asian arts auction that will be conducted online by Jasper52 on Wednesday, April 8. Bid absentee or live online exclusively through LiveAuctioneers.

A tanto is a short sword widely carried by samurai. A fine example offered in the auction dates to the mid-16th century and is signed by the maker Kanenori. It is 11¾ inches long. Kanenori made swords during the late Muromachi period, nearly 500 years ago. It was at the peak of his work period in 1542 when the Mino province came under the control of Oda Nobunaga, during the Sengoku jidai, “Age of Warring States.” Swords were in great demand at this time and Mino blades were popular for their sharpness and durability. Tantos were always custom-made to the need of the samurai ordering the blade. This fine example (above) is expected to sell for $4,000-$5,000.

A netsuke is a small toggle once used throughout Japanese society to secure a pouch or container that held a person’s daily necessities, such as money and tobacco. A half dozen wooden netsukes are offered in the auction, including a full-figure likeness of Oni no Nembutsu (below), a demon who saw the light of Buddhist teachings and became pious. The 3-inch-tall  boxwood figure exhibits an awesome facial expression (est. $1,100-$1,500).

Asian arts auction

Boxwood netsuke of Oni no Nembutsu, 19th century, 3 1/8in high. Estimate: $1,100-$1,500. Jasper52 image

Another nice netsuke in the sale represents a Buaku-type theatrical mask, this one carved in a lighter wood, probably ichii—Japanese yew wood, that has excellent staining and patina. The signature on the back appears to read Genryo followed by kakihan (the carved monogram) of the artist. The 1¼-inch-high netsuke is valued at $350-$400.

Asian arts auction

Boxwood netsuke representing a theatrical mask of Buaku type, 19th century, probably ichii—Japanese yew wood,1¼in high. Estimate: $350-$400. Jasper52 image

Menuki are ornate metal ornaments placed on Japanese sword handles. Twenty-seven pairs are offered in the auction. One pair depicts two groups of boys at play. Made of gold, silver and copper inlays, this excellent example of Japanese decorative metalwork has a $500-$600 estimate.

Asian arts auction

Pair of early 19th century Japanese sword menuki depicting boys at play, each piece 1½in long. Estimate: $500-$600. Jasper52 image

The auction will open with two Chinese Ming Dynasty small porcelain bowls, each hand-painted with a pineapple decoration. The bowls will be sold as separate lots (est. $550-$700 each).

Asian arts auction

Chinese porcelain bowl, Ming Dynasty, Wanli or Tianqi, 16th-17th century, 5.6in diameter
Estimate: $550-$700. Jasper52 image

The Jasper52 auction will be held Wednesday, April 8, beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern time.