Welcome to Cynthia Shaver Asian Art Appraiser Newsletter May 2022,
Pray for World Peace.
I have been obsessed with writing catalogue entries for 150 Japanese textiles that date from 1890-1945. The textiles tell a story, almost year by year, from late 1890’s to 1940’s. Most of them are garments, men’s haori with a story on the haura lining, men’s juban or undergarment like a slip with themes like ‘Japan is Modern’, or ‘Come Settle in Manchukuo’ referring to Japan’s invasion into Manchuria in 1931. The designs on the fabric relate to a specific act of history, like the very popular dirigible, until the problems began. And the introduction of the automobile and airplane. The designs are so specific, the pattern can be dated generally to a few years. It has been a crash course in 101 World History, 1900-1945. The story on the garment may use folklore, and they certainly sanitize military equipment as toys, with decorative motifs of maps displaying Empire. The government plays a part, encouraging certain colors, warning against extravagance, suggesting motifs and then the politics of the moment is encouraged by the textile designers, always needing new motifs.
Had a fun filled three-hour appointment with representative of last surviving member of important 16th c Daimyo family of Japan with relics of another era when Japan was closed to the outside world for over 200 years and had no wars. Money was spent on art. There were thin, circular red lacquer 7” dishes, so elegant. The red lacquer ware was exquisite, and some personal effects like a personal seal basket case that revealed such a gentle soul. Helping people find homes for treasures no longer wanted gives me pleasure.
I am doing more virtual office appointments and consultations. It seems to work well for many, no packing of material nor driving a long distance, and often a written appraisal is not needed and the expense unnecessary. With this is mind, the Japanese textile catalogue entries were for a gallery in Switzerland, all 80 hours accomplished virtually.
Thank you for reading my newsletter, I appreciate your time.