Over the past century, Sotheby’s has provided unparalleled expertise in the appraisal and sale of Japanese works of art. With a specialisation in all works from the Jōmon to the Taishō periods (14,000 BCE to the 1920s), we are proud to have offered in our sale rooms some of the finest and rarest examples of Japanese art, including ceramics, lacquer, screens, Meiji period works of art, samurai armour and swords, and Edo and Meiji period woodblock prints.
We have had the privilege to auction many of the great collections of the 19th and 20th Centuries through landmark single owner sales. The important collection of Mr Henri Vever, offered in a 4-part series of sales, is widely regarded as among the greatest auctions held of Japanese prints. The George and Cornelia Wingfield Digby Collection sale inspired buyers with a unique curated group of fine Japanese ceramics. Other famous collections have included the late Charles A. Greenfield, Carlo Monzino, and further important print sales, including the Adolf Stoclet, the Huguette Berès and the Walter Amstutz collections, to name but a few.
In more recent years, the sales of the dogū from the Tsuneichi Inoue Collection, achieving a European record for Japanese works of art, and of a fine example of Katsushika Hokusai’s ‘Under the Great Wave off Kanagawa’ in Hong Kong have meant that Sotheby’s remains a leading player in the market for Japanese works of art. As such, our specialists are dedicated to researching and presenting the finest pieces to the market, and achieving exceptional sale results.