Japanese Mixed-Metal Vases, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $4,000 - $6,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (2:50)
GUEST: My grandfather was stationed over in France in World War II. And he acquired these and a bunch of other items that he had shipped over here. Some of his buddies from the Air Force base went and picked them up for him, brought them to my grandmother, and that's where they've been sitting.
APPRAISER: And do you believe the vases to have been altered in any way, or do you think they've been changed?
GUEST: No, not in all the years they've been sitting in our house, since the '40s.
APPRAISER: Okay. Now, these are Japanese mixed metal bronze vases. These are gold over bronze. And this is a copper alloy. And the petals to the flowers are silver. So these are pieced over a bronze sleeve vase. And you know, interestingly, this is decorated in both a built-up Moriagi style, so a relief, and then a cutaway. The trunk supporting the hawk is in a deep relief, whereas this is a built-up overlay of bronze. So a nice alternating ground to the vase. The reason I asked whether they've been altered at all is when I saw these, I knew that they had either been through a European dealer's hands or an American dealer's hands. The reason for this is they've been mounted in what we refer to as a chinoiserie or japonisme manner. These are French bronze mounts supporting the vase. And you can almost see a Greek key or geometric key with S- and C-shaped scrolls. So these are a typical kind of French scroll. These are Meiji period vases. They're turn of the century. And it's likely that the mounts were added shortly after their import to France. That does affect the value, probably 10% or 20%. They're not a pure, unadulterated pair of Japanese vases.
APPRAISER: Why these are wonderful examples of Japanese Meiji period mixed metal vases is the patina. And I know you mentioned you thought perhaps you should have dusted them this morning or...
GUEST: Yeah, cleaned them a little.
APPRAISER: Cleaned them a little. You did a good job not to.
APPRAISER: Too often, we see wonderful late 19th, early 20th century vases that someone has chosen to polish to an inch of their life.
GUEST: Oh, goodness.
APPRAISER: Now, these appeal to two groups of buyers: those who collect Japanese works of art, and secondly, those who collect decorative works of art, European decorative arts as well, because there is a chinoiserie or japonisme element to them. Overall value, a conservative auction estimate would be $4,000 to $6,000.
GUEST: Wow, that's great, that's great.
APPRAISER: Very pretty vases.
GUEST: Cool, they're going right back on my shelf.
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