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  • Meiji silver dragon model brings fiery $128,500 to Bonhams
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • dragonMeijimodelsilver

Meiji silver dragon model brings fiery $128,500 to Bonhams

A silver model of a twisting dragon from Japan's Meiji period (late 19th-early 20th century) has sold well as Bonhams presented its second auction of Asia Week New York yesterday (March 19).

Japanese meiji silver dragon
Japan's Meiji period saw rapid modernisation and its artworks are noted for their western influence



The Fine Japanese Works of Art sale saw the piece, crafted by Kazumi, sell for $128,500. The cast and carved serpentine dragon features an articulated lower jaw, with flames emanating from its body and shakudo (a billon of gold and copper) eyes.

Bonhams' inaugural auction of Asia Week focused on Indian, Himalayan and southeast Asian art, and was topped by a 18th century Tibetan dorge, or altar ornament.

Bringing the second highest bids of the Japanese sale was a Meiji period Satsuma vase and cover that made $88,900. The piece is a classic example of Satsuma ware, with polychrome enamels and gilt on a clear crackle glaze.


Satsuma ware is characterised by crackle glazing and vibrant enamels



Decorated with a profusion of peonies with butterflies, with panels showing shishi or guardian dogs, the vase is signed Yabu Meizan on the underside in gilt.

More top bids in the auction were seen by two inro, a type of Japanese case that is used for holding small objects. Inro are an extremely popular collecting area for those interested in Japanese art, with the world record held by an example from the master craftsman Shibata Zeshin at $199,431.

Bonhams' offerings would not reach such heights, despite being magnificent examples. Both originated from the Meiji period and displayed the Shibayama inlay technique that used shell and ivory, each making $56,250.

Find more of the top sales from Asia Week New York in our Art & Photography news section, with all the latest to keep you up to date with the market.

  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • dragonMeijimodelsilver