AN ‘UNUSUAL’ Japanese vase which was inherited by a Whitchurch couple has sold for £11,000 at auction in Shrewsbury.

The vase design is by Namikawa Yasuyuki, who is considered to be the great master of Japanese cloisonné, surpassed expectations when it sold at Halls Fine Art’s Asian Art Auction on Wednesday.

The 17-centimetre high vase raced away from its pre-sale estimate with intense bidding in the Shrewsbury saleroom, by telephone and online, before selling to an English collector.


Asian art specialist Alexander Clement predicted the sale could have a few surprise packages in store, and so it proved with the cloisonné vase, which was put up for sale by the Whitchurch couple.

“The vase had been handed down through the family and the couple had inherited it with a number of items which we had sold previously,” explained Alexander.

“It was a piece that they didn’t think a lot of but I thought it was really interesting and worthy of further research.

“I didn’t recognise the mark immediately but it was identified after research by my colleague Caroline Dennard.

“Namikawa Yasuyuki was the great master of Japanese cloisonne in late 19th and early 20th centuries and his work sells exceedingly well when it appears at auction.

“This vase bears his impressed signature on the underside, so we know it was from his studio and it attracted a large amount of pre-sale interest.

“The quality was absolutely superb, as one would expect to find on a piece by this maker, but the design was unusual.

“Most of his pieces are of traditional shapes, while this one was of cylindrical form and finely worked in silver wire with a trellis of flowers and foliage against a celadon green background, which is a more unusual colour for this maker.”

Cloisonné is the name given to the practice of creating designs on metal vases by placing coloured glass paste with enclosures made of copper or bronze wires, which are bent or hammered into the desired pattern.

Another excellent result for a Shropshire vendor was £1,550 for a Chinese carved hongmu and pink marble triple vase stand from the Qing Dynasty.

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The stand originally arrived at Halls in pieces before being glued back together by Mr Clement.

“The Asian Art market is still very strong but it’s definitely more selective and more unpredictable than it was five or so years ago,” added Alexander.

“Strong prices can be achieved with the right items which keeps us on our toes.”