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129 AN IMPORTANT SET WITH 12 ZODIAC INROÂ Japan, 20th century. Each of the twelve inro in this complete set bears the artist signature of Yamaguchi Shojosai (1900 - 1978), also known under his artist name Rosho, on the underside of the lowest compartment. All twelve are four-case inro and show fine hira- and takamaki-e painting on gold, black and red lacquer grounds. Each inro has been carefully re-stringed and comes with its matching ivory netsuke and ojime, all dating from the early 20th century and signed Shigeaki in an oval, rectangular or gourd-shaped reserve.

Signature Shojosai Chion with the characteristic kakihan of the artist

Signature Shojosai with the characteristic kakihan of the artist

Provenance: From an old and important British private collection. Condition: Superb condition with only very minor wear and traces of use. Some of the netsuke and ojime have old age cracks. An absolute rarity in this sublime and original state of preservation! HEIGHT 9 cm (each inro). WEIGHT Approximately 90 grams (each inro with its netsuke and ojime). Yamaguchi Shojosai was a remarkable lacquerer who worked in various studios in Tokyo, Kyoto and Niigata. He contracted polio when he was four years old and used a crutch for walking from then on. He began his lacquer studies when he was 14 and devoted his life to working with lacquer and to his family. Following the death of his wife in 1952, two of his sons became lacquer craftsmen. In this precious and extremely rare set the artist has precisely captured the individual characters of the portrayed animals, therewith masterfully highlighting the various virtues coming with each zodiac sign. The Japanese Zodiac, referred to as Junishi, comprises the following twelve animals: rat (nezumi), ox (ushi), tiger (tora), rabbit (usagi), goat (hitsuji), horse (uma), snake (hebi), dragon (tatsu), monkey (saru), rooster (tori), dog (inu) and boar (inoshishi). Compare with another four-case inro by Yamaguchi Shojosai in the Edward Wrangham collection of Japanese art, offered at Bonhams, London. 10th November 2015, lot 129.

Exemplary signatures of the inro, netsuke and ojime


Estimate EUR 25.000,Starting price EUR 12.500,-

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Fine Japanese and Netsuke Art  

22 June 2019, 1 PM CET

Fine Japanese and Netsuke Art  

22 June 2019, 1 PM CET

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