The quality of the Japanese koro recently offered at our Grantham Asian Art Sale was so undeniable it stopped hardened dealers and casual buyers alike in their tracks. It is not often an item draws gasps or open mouths, but this fine Japanese vessel did just that.
Firstly what are we dealing with? A koro is d defined as a broad mouthed covered jar, used usually as an incense burner. This description understates this masterpiece which stands well over half a metre high. Cast in bronze with piercings and floral additions as good as you will see, it is a sheer talking point piece, an item which could form the focal point of any grand home, it oozes quality, with fantastic casting, lines and decoration. It is a bells and whistles piece, which electrified the saleroom and had pulses racing from Tokyo to Tattershall. Put simply it was one of the highest quality items in the best of condition.
Little is known of the maker Ohashi Mitsuemon Yoshihashi, other than he resided in Takaoe Japan, however you only need look at the piece to know they were at the top of the design tree. On this rare occasion the item precedes the maker, its dimensions and dynamics tick the boxes, you can sense its quality from 100 paces away and whoever this great maker was, they certainly were at the top of their game.
Provenance is also important and there is a most notable former owner, for this beauteous bronze was once in the collection of the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher. This piece would not look out of place in the grandest London homes and none comes better than at number ten itself!
Quality is the key, sometimes an item comes along which is just so exquisite it doesn’t matter about anything else other than the item itself: the fact this has any associated name improves things, the provenance is better and the absolute quality compliments these aspects perfectly. The £25,000 hammer price was not the biggest surprise ever and answers the question perfectly as to what sells well at auction …. quality does, that’s what!