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Spectacular variety of elegantly painted Japanese screens unfold at Bonhams New York
Circle of Iwasa Matabei (17th century) Composing Poetry in a Spring Landscape. Est. $100,000-150,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Fine Japanese Works of Art sale on March 19 at Bonhams will feature a variety of elegantly painted screens. The iconic art form, which is both decorative and functional, has been extant in Japan since the 8th century.

A splendid example from the circle of Iwasa Matabei serves as a window to 17th century Japanese culture (est. $100,000-150,000). The six-panel folding screen, embellished with colors, ink, and gold and silver foil, shows fashionable young men and their beautiful female companions enjoying a cherry tree in full bloom in a garden. Iwasa Matabei (1578-1650) has been credited with taking genre painting in a new direction, by concentrating on larger figures engaged in pursuits of pleasure and leisure – the manner of painting here is typical of what came to be known as the Matabei style.

The selection of screens and paintings is further augmented by a group of works from the estate of the philanthropist Clarence Day. Examples include a 17th century six-panel screen of blossoming cherry trees by a stream (est. $15,000-20,000) and a 17th century hanging scroll of a crow attributed to the hand of Tawaraya Sotatsu (est. $15,000-25,000).

Other treasures can be found throughout the March 19 sale, which showcases more than 350 fine Japanese pieces, including bronzes, ceramics, woodblock prints, lacquer works, and even Samurai armor. A notable highlight is a large Imperial presentation silver bowl by Hirata Shigemitsu VII (est. $30,000-40,000). This impressive bowl was a commission by the Imperial Household of the Taisho Emperor as a gift for Baron Komura Jutaro. Rounding out the fine selection of Meiji period works are two private collections of cloisonné enamel, metalwork and Satsuma wares.

The Fine Japanese Works of Art sale will take place on March 19 at Bonhams New York. The sale will preview at Bonhams March 14-19.

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