NEW YORK – With its tradition of elegant simplicity, Asian decorative art is universal in its appeal, transcending borders and influencing cultures on nearly every continent. For centuries, the Western world has embraced the rich legacy of paintings, ceramics and metal statuary of China, Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Korea and other nations. Jasper52 will pay tribute to the art and antiques of Asia with an August 28 auction featuring 74 high-quality lots. Absentee and live-online bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
Within its main focus — Asian art — the subcategories are pleasingly diverse, from snuff bottles and netsukes to armor and swords. One of the sale’s top decorative items is an 18th-century golden copper sculpture of the Buddha Sakyamuni. Originating in Tibet or Nepal, the 74cm sculpture has a serene facial expression and sits in the padmasana position on a double-lotus flower base. Previously held in a collection in the south of France, it comes to auction with a $12,000-$13,000 estimate.
Netsuke and inro highlights include a 19th-century cherrywood single-case tonkotsu carved with a boy with a butterfly net on one side and a shishi dog on the other, est. $800-$1,000; and a whimsical 19th-century wooden okimono of one of the three wise monkeys, created by netsuke carver Kosai. The latter piece is an excellent, crisply carved rendering of Mizaru, the monkey who covers his eyes, with wonderfully detailed “fur, fingers and toes.” It is expected to make $300-$350.
There’s other monkey business to enjoy in the sale. An excellent 18th-century staghorn netsuke of a performing monkey holding a shishimai mask above its shoulder is very similar to one that is illustrated in the Japanese art catalog titled Expressions of Style: Netsuke As Art. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000
Fans of Bushido will appreciate the traditional styling and colors in a breathtaking Japanese samurai armor yoroi tokugawa. At one point in its history, this set of armor spent decades in Shirakawa Castle. It now comes to auction with an opening bid of $3,000 and a $6,000-$7,000 estimate.
A noteworthy textile, Lot 7A is a large 16th-century thangka with a painted depiction of the Buddha Sakayamuni performing the dharmacakrapravartanamudra, symbolizing the turning of the wheel of the Dharma. This gesture is usually associated with the transcendent Buddha Vairochana. The figure is sitting in the padmasana position on a lotus flower with open petals, which, in turn, rests on the finely decorated basis of a throne with a wide backrest, decorated with lacework and animals, typical of the pictorial style of the most archaic of thangkas. Estimate: $1,400-$1,600