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Five inch Netsuke sells for $86,500 at Bonhams New York
A tall ivory netsuke of a Chinese court noble. Kyoto or Osaka, Edo period (18th century). 5 3/8in (13.7cm) high. Sold for $86,500. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- A five inch tall ivory netsuke of a Chinese court noble was the top lot at Bonhams September 17 auction of The James A Rose Collection of Netsuke and Sagemono. The elegant netsuke, which hails from 18th Century Kyoto or Osaka, sold for $86,500 after a lengthy bidding war, realizing over seven times the pre-auction estimate.

The James A Rose collection performed extremely well overall, selling at 96% by lot. International media were in attendance as bidders from nearly two dozen countries participated live online and via telephone, with interest concentrated in the US, Japan and Europe. Attendees took home the majority of the top lots.

"Dr Rose was a knowledgeable and generous enthusiast who was well known within the dedicated netsuke collecting community. It was an honor to handle his superb collection," explained Jeff Olson, the Director of the Japanese Department at Bonhams New York. "I think this result illustrates a continued interest among buyers in well-curated, single owner collections which are fresh to the market. Bonhams continues to lead the way in bringing this type of outstanding Netsuke to auction."

Dr Rose had a special affinity for large, figural netsukes from Edo-period Kyoto such as the Chinese court noble. Additional highlights in this style included an ivory netsuke of Ryujin holding a tama which sold for $50,000, more than six times its pre-auction estimate. A large wood netsuke of a sumo wrestler more than tripled its pre-auction estimate, achieving $40,000. Auction highlights in the form of animals included a charming wood netsuke of a rat with a chestnut by Mitani Goho that soared past its high estimate to realize $50,000, as well as an ivory netsuke of a recumbent Kirin by Okatomo from the same period that sold for $40,000.

The James A Rose Collection was followed by the afternoon session of Fine Japanese Works of Art. Japanese prints of all types offered from various owners proved to be of great interest to collectors. A print of strolling courtesans by Utamaro sold for $20,000, 20 times its pre-auction estimate, while a Munkata Shiko (1903-1995) woodblock print of one of the 10 disciples of Buddha achieved five times its pre-auction estimate, realizing $27,500.

Additional highlights from the Fine Japanese auction included a boldly painted lacquer screen by Morita Shiryu (1912-1998) executed in 1967 which realized $86,500, more than double its pre-auction estimate. The continued appetite for Meiji-period metal work was evident in the results achieved by a large inlaid bronze vase which quadrupled its pre-auction estimate to sell for $40,000, and an inlaid iron incense burner by Ikkoku Kajima (1846-1925) that reached $30,000.

Complete results for the Fine Japanese Works of Art can be found at

Bonhams next auction of Japanese art will take place on October 8 with the Arts of the Samurai in New York.

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Five inch Netsuke sells for $86,500 at Bonhams New York

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