The Mike and Hiroko Dean Collection Michael Dean who died in 2013, was an acknowledged expert in the whole spectrum of Japanese art, especially swords, related metalwork, and Japanese lacquer. Mike was essentially an artist, and exhibited at St Ives and other galleries around England. He was on close terms with many great artists of the day, and had particularly warmed to Bernard Leach. He apparently became disillusioned with the world of art in or around 1965, when by chance he happened upon the classic Japanese film The Seven Samurai, and became enthused by Japanese culture. What was a loss for the world of art was a huge gain for collectors of Japanese antiquities. Mike became absorbed in the world of the Japanese sword and with his eyes opened Mike branched out into all aspects of Japanese art. He started to buy and sell, gradually refining what was to become two impressive lacquer collections. He opened several shops before finally establishing Nihon Token (The Japanese Sword) in Museum Street within sight of the British Museum there to remain for many years open to a constant stream of visitors from the world over and especially from Japan, where he became widely known and respected. Mike married Hiroko, and together they worked on the book of their unique lacquer collection which had been entirely collected in London, published by Kyoto Shoin as ‘Japanese Lacquer - An Exposition’. It says much both for the London market where such things could be had by the discerning collector, and much for Mike whose own sharp eye would allow no compromise. In this venture he had the support of his long standing friend and mentor Professor Yoshimura Motoo, the Director of Shikkoshi gakkai [the Academy of Lacquer Research] and once curator of Kyoto National Museum. In the Professor’s preface to Japanese Lacquer - An Exposition’, he acknowledged Mike’s preference for restrained lacquer “His keen sensitivity and astute artist’s eye catch the delicate feeling of work which, by the use of subtle technique and subdued expression, produces a soft, glowing quality, but tends to be easily overlooked”. The following lots (131-139) are a testament to this. Victor Harris, Keeper Emeritus of Japanese Antiquities, The British Museum.
MOMOYAMA PERIOD (16TH CENTURY)