2016 : September Newsletter

Welcome to Cynthia Shaver Asian Art Appraiser Newsletter September 2016,

Take a look at new website.  It is mobile device friendly.


August was a very busy month.  I learned about Japanese export silver, specifically the company Arthur & Bond located in Yokohama.  Japanese export silver refers to silver properties (teapots, serving pieces, vases  and such) made in the late 1800’s to early 1920’s , in the Yokohama area, for foreign taste and market.  Japanese silversmiths worked in 950 sterling, while British & American silversmiths use the 925 standard.  A group of these properties were gifted to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and I wrote the appraisal report.

In 1891, The Japan Directory contained an advertisement for a company Arthur & Bond’s Fine Art Gallery.  They catered mainly to English expatriates and foreign travelers. On the bottom of each work, was engraved Arthur & Bond./Yokohama./Sterling.   The 1923 earthquake destroyed all records and there are no records of Arthur & Bond  silver made or exported after that.

In my appraisal practice, I had never weighed something in consideration of value. I don’t weigh a porcelain, a basket or even a bronze.  But I did need to weigh the silver. I learned this from my first telephone call to a dealer, “what is the weight?”  I learned two silver repousse  bowls can look similar and be of the same size, but one weighed 14 ounces and the other 32 ounces. I measured the depth of the repousee, one quarter inch, thick for layered silver. That is why one bowl weighed twice the amount of the other, layers of silver with decorative lotus flowers. I found the lighter, iris themed bowl was $8,000 (eight thousand US dollars) and the heavier one, with the uncommon theme of lotus, with repousee, was $10,000.

Several export silver items on the market are commemorative in nature and many are associated with the Yokohama Yacht Club, a venerable institution I learned with a story of its own.  I found vases. wine coasters, bowls and a really big bowl (for a mental detour, read about The Liscum Silver Bowl, Gloria Lannom) that had inscriptions, and were commemorative in genre.

There are great exhibitions in the San Francisco museums now, if in the area please go visit.

https://deyoung.famsf.org/exhibitions/kay-sekimachi-student-teacher-artist : Kay Sekimachi

https://deyoung.famsf.org/exhibitions/grid-textiles-and-minimalism : Textiles

http://www.asianart.org/exhibitions_index/exhibitions# : Art from National Palace Museum, Taipei

http://bampfa.org/program/buddhist-art-roof-world : Buddhist art from Tibet

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