Japanese U.S.-Market Textile, ca. 1875
Appraised Value: $6,000 - $8,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:37)
GUEST: It's always been in the family, as far as I know. For the last 50 years at least, it's been hanging in my mother's house in the stairwell. The story was that a great-uncle who was in the Navy and went to Japan had it sent back to the family, and I can remember it from childhood being in my mother's house, and that's where it's still hanging, because my son is living in that house right now.
APPRAISER: These types of works were made for servicemen who were in Japan, sort of as tourist items to bring back to the United States. Generally when we see these, they're much smaller. They're, you know, about this size. And usually they're a little bit more personal in that the painting that's on the piece is of a destroyer or a ship that they were on, something that was a little bit more personal. And they had their name on it or the ship's name on it. This one has none of that, but what it does have, which makes it very interesting, is this painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, and it makes this piece very, very unique. Emanuel Leutze was the person who originally painted the actual painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, which is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
APPRAISER: Usually these pieces were done in about 1890s to 1900s.
APPRAISER: We think that this is an earlier example.
APPRAISER: We think it might possibly have actually been made for the Philadelphia Centennial, which was in 1876, because of the motifs, Washington crossing the Delaware. There are quite a number of stars on the flag, and that's just artistic license. It's interpretive of the American flag. It is silk on felt, and then the painting is ink and color on silk. And also you have gold thread in here, as well, which is fairly typical Japanese. Now, it's always been in this frame? Is that correct?
GUEST: Yes, as far as I know.
APPRAISER: The frame is contemporary with the piece, but the frame is European in origin or American. So it wasn't framed in Japan; it was framed here. Now, what we see here are some sort of brown spots, and all up in here are some brown spots. This is what we call foxing, and what it is is the backing-- whatever the material is laying on-- is actually eating through the felt and the silk, okay? So it's very important to stabilize it.
APPRAISER: Because it's so large and it's really in relatively good shape for its age, we would estimate it would be worth about $6,000 to $8,000 at auction.
GUEST: Really? Oh, I don't think anybody would have ever thought that.
APPRAISER It's a lovely piece and a great piece of American and Japanese history.
GUEST: Thank you very much. Yeah, wow.
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