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Rare 14th century ceramic flask leads the Bonhams Fine Japanese & Korean Works of Art Sale
A large and rare Ko-Seto heishi (flask), Kamakura period (early 14th century), 12 1/16in (30.5cm) high. Est. $225,000-300,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams presents Fine Japanese & Korean Works of Art on March 18, an auction that will place superb examples of classic Japanese art, Meiji era craftsmanship and a much anticipated private collection of Korean works on the auction block.

The rarest item on offer is an early 14th century large Japanese Ko-Seto heishi (flask) that is expected to fetch between $225,000 and $300,000. The stoneware vessel is decorated with impressed designs of 17-petal chrysanthemums, plum blossoms and incised with three unusually large roundels of flowers and grasses. The body was then covered in a caramel-brown ash glaze and iron-oxide rich slip. It is a superior work that was produced during the period when the kilns of Seto were at the height of their technical prowess. The massive vase standing over 30 centimeters high, is taller than most extant flasks of the period; it is almost 50% greater in volume than any other early Ko-Seto heishi in any US museum collection.

Hot on the heels of the September auction of Fine Japanese Works of Art that broke the world auction record for a work by Yabu Meizan (1853-1934), a fine Satsuma vase that fetched $93,750, this auction will present another fine selection of Satsuma ceramics. Most notable is a large vase decorated with scenes of late Biwa by Yabu Meizan (est. $30,000 – 40,000).

The Japanese section is rounded out by a strong selection of paintings including an early 17th century six-panel folding screen (est. $20,000 – 30,000). Decorated a rustic fence around which delicate wisteria blossoms entwine, a favored and recognizable motif that instantly resonates with the Japanese aesthetic.

The sale marks Bonhams’ re-focusing on offering fine Korean works of art in their Madison Avenue galleries. The offering features 17 works from a private Japanese collection. Highlights include a fine 18th century blue and white jar with a chrysanthemum, orchid and bamboo design (est. $40,000 – 60,000), and a 12th century celadon glazed “bamboo” ewer and cover ($50,000 – 70,000).

Jeff Olson, Director of Japanese art at Bonhams says, “Once again we have assembled an offering in answer to the market’s demand for fine examples of Meiji craftsmanship. However the sale is augmented by several important earlier works illustrating the highly refined Japanese sense of design. We are also excited to have on offer a fine private collection of Korean works of art with an eye to renew interest among collectors in this area.”

The auction will begin at 1pm.

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