Located in the heart of Osaka, the Fujita Museum ranks among Japan’s most eminent cultural institutions. The museum was founded in 1954 to exhibit works collected by the entrepreneur Denzaburo Fujita (1841–1912) and his sons, Heitaro and Tokujiro.
The Fujita Museum collection comprises more than 2,000 Japanese and Chinese works of art, including exceptional painting and calligraphy, Buddhist art, early bronzes, lacquerware, textiles and tea utensils. The Museum’s prominence is underscored by its nine National Treasures and 52 Important Cultural Properties, the most held by any private museum in Japan.
In March 2017 in New York, Christie’s will present a selection of Chinese works of art from this extraordinary collection, including highly important Shang and Zhou Dynasty ritual bronzes, Buddhist stone sculptures, classical paintings and scholar’s objects, all testifying to the Fujita family’s standing as one of the premier collectors of Asian art in Japan.
The selection of bronzes from the sale exhibit the patina, condition, shape and technical mastery coveted by a collector of masterpieces. The late-Shang Dynasty rare and important bronze ritual wine vessels and covers, Fanglei and Fangzun, are among the rarest forms of vessels and of superlative quality, speaking to the strength of works made in Anyang, the capital and apex of the Shang Dynasty.
Other standout works include a group of six handscrolls, among them Chen Rong’s elaborately painted Six Dragons, which was graded as a painting of the highest quality and importance in the second series of Emperor Qianlong’s Catalogue of Painting and Calligraphy in the Qianlong Imperial Collection (also known as Shiqu Baoji). The famous catalogue was ordered by the Qianlong emperor in order to systematically organise court objects. The exhaustive compilation is celebrated to this day for its remarkable accuracy, and for encapsulating a period renowned for its high level of craftsmanship.