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Collecting, an art within the art

What is collecting? According to the most common definition, it is a propensity to search for and collect objects of historical, cultural or artistic value. In itself this description is not incorrect, but from our point of view it is at least incomplete. In our work we deal with numerous collectors and we know their motivations and objectives. We know what lies behind the search for art objects and what feelings this practice triggers.

Collectors are an active part of our professional growth. They offer us the opportunity to continuously challenge our knowledge of the Japanese art world. They also gratify us by trusting our taste and experience .

IIn this article we will therefore talk about collecting, a set of actions guided by passion, instinct, curiosity, awareness and love for beauty.

The origins of collecting

Let’s take a very short journey through time to discover the origins of collecting.

When we talk about collecting we think of a rather modern practice. In reality it is a real anthropological phenomenon and, as such, has very ancient origins.

This is a practice common to almost all civilizations, from prehistory to the present day. Man, always in practice, tends to gather in more or less defined collections, objects of various kinds. From funerary objects dating back to the Copper Age, up to the first art objects of ancient Greece.

Ancient collections mainly had religious meanings and were kept in sacred places such as temples.

It was in ancient Rome that collecting was consolidated and assumed great value for private individuals. Collecting items, mostly spoils of war, was a way of asserting one’s power.

There are two aspects that unite collectors of all historical periods. One’s pleasure in owning collections of valuable objects on the one hand, and the pleasure of being able to show them to others to demonstrate one’s greatness on the other.

As can be easily understood from these few lines, collecting has always been an integral part of the existence of many people. It is no coincidence that one is often a collector forever, for life.

The art of collecting

We started this article with a “textbook” definition of collecting, pointing out that in our opinion it is not a complete definition. So what is missing in this description?

Passion. The driving force without which this practice would be a mechanical collection of objects and nothing more.

To better explain what we mean, it is worth making a practical example. We will tell you the story of Mr. G. One of our customers and collectors who we had the pleasure of accompanying during his journey to discover Japanese art.

The book

In these days we are working on the publication of a volume that collects all the objects collected over the years by Mr. G.

It is a collection of about 150 works selected by himself.

Among the published objects are Satsuma with blue Gosu decoration with textured relief enamels. The big names in the Kyoto Satsuma like Kinkozan, Meizan, Okamoto Ryozan e Hankinzan.

The refined inlays in the Shibayama technique. Among these stands out a screen in gold ground lacquer and un kodansu in silver. Followed by objects in makiè lacquer, tonkotsu, inrō, bronze gold damask boxes from the Komai manufacture.

I netsuke and okimono with the big names of Tokyo Chokokai who have made the sculptors of the Tokyo school famous for their unique and recognizable technique.

Not just a book to leaf through and works of art to admire, but also the story of a completely personal way of approaching the purchase. A way guided by instinct on the one hand and awareness on the other to passionately seek beauty in all its forms.

From the outside this volume may seem just a “simple” collection.

For us, who have been living the world of art at 360 degrees for many years now, it represents something more. It is the demonstration that collecting is joy and passion, tireless research and aptitude in recognizing the intrinsic value of art objects.