Fearsome Mask Sells Way Beyond Estimate in Bonhams Fine Japanese Art Sale

Estimated at £3,500 – 4,000, bidders fiercely competed for the coveted mask, which eventually sold for £121,250. Photo: Bonhams.

A striking red mask (tengu somen) forged out of a single piece of iron was one of the top lots in the Fine Japanese Art sale that took place on the 17th May at Bonhams, New Bond Street.

Estimated at £3,500 – 4,000, bidders fiercely competed for the coveted mask, which eventually sold for £121,250. The mask was in the form of tengu, a bird-like spirit who is often depicted with a reddish face and crow-like beak. In Japanese folklore the tengu is a protective, yet mischievous spirit and a popular mask subject. A mask such as this would have originally been used as a piece of armour in the 13th century, but later examples were made as showpieces for high ranking lords.

The top lot of the sale was an intricate cloisonné enamel and partial plique-à- jour square bowl by Ando Jubei from the Meiji Period (1868-1912). The bowl had an extraordinary interplay of colours, with a subtle use of traditional design and received much interest from international buyers. Estimated at £15,000 – 20,000, the bowl realised £145,250.

You can read the full article via ArtDaily here. 

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