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A Nagasaki Lacquer Secretaire

EDO PERIOD (EARLY 19TH CENTURY)

Details
A Nagasaki Lacquer Secretaire
Edo period (early 19th century)
Decorated in Nagasaki style with mother-of-pearl inlay on a black ground with ho-o birds, various flower sprays and foliage, the fall front with an oval panel depicting a moonlit landscape with pavilions, trees and rocks and a bridge over water in front of a mountain, opening to reveal six drawers, a hinged door and four narrow compartments, a pair of doors beneath with panels depicting ho-o birds and a flowering tree by a stream, all bordered by geometric bands, standing on four shaped feet, applied gilt copper angels and stylised plants to the corners, gilt copper fittings
138.5 x 96.5 x 44.2 cm.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Anastasia von Seibold
Anastasia von Seibold

Lot Essay

Nagasaki, the technique of colourful shell inlay on a black lacquer ground, was produced under Dutch instruction in Nagasaki from the late 18th century. The colourful decoration of floral and bird motifs follow the conventional Nagasaki designs of the period.

This secretaire was probably produced for the North European market as its shape is closely linked to Dutch and North German examples. It may have been made on the island of Deshima in the Bay of Nagasaki. Deshima, also known as Dejima, was a man-made island constructed in Nagasaki harbour by the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1867) in the mid-1630s. It was the only place in Japan where Westerners, first the Portuguese and then the Dutch, were allowed to reside from the 1630s to 1856 under the country’s policy of national seclusion.

For a similar example in The Peabody Essex Museum (inventory number E 79452), Salem, see Oliver Impey and Christiaan Jorg, Japanese Export Lacquer 1580-1850, (Amsterdam, 2005), p. 220-221, no. 535.

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