Lot 429: A Carved Japanese Ivory ‘Squirrels and Grapes’ Cane Handle, Meiji Period, height 6" — 15.3 cm.
The Library and Curiosities Auction
December 1, 2016
Toronto, ON, Canada
Description: A CARVED JAPANESE IVORY ‘SQUIRRELS AND GRAPES’ CANE HANDLE, MEIJI PERIODVery finely carved depicting a perched squirrel reaching for a grape, with a second squirrel outstretched and reaching for the other’s paw, with a frog and bird below, overall good condition, wear to surface, height 6" — 15.3 cm.Provenance:The Collection of Harold Gordon Groves (lots 85-120)Harold Groves was a true collector; passionate, dedicated and curious. He amassed his collection over sixty-five years, and was meticulous in its procurement, operating with the principle that one ought to purchase the highest quality piece they could afford, and then upgrade it whenever possible. He learned as much as he could about the artists and their craft, informing himself through reference books and art texts, which helped enlighten the process of his collecting. He also travelled extensively through Europe and Asia in the 1960s and 1970s, not only to seek pieces, but to learn about the artists, witness their craftsmanship first hand, and immerse himself in the culture that bore the art. Harold became a respected member within the community of collectors, with fellow experts often seeking his advice and guidance. Several pieces of his collection were also displayed in museum exhibits and galleries across North America. Harold’s deep and enduring passion for Asian art was truly inspiring, and motivated his children to build art collections of their own.Note:In Chinese culture, the motif of squirrels and grapes signifies longevity. This theme is rooted in linguistics, as the word for squirrel is pronounced the same as pine tree, and the words for grape and peach are homonyms. Therefore, in this context, the squirrel replaces the pine tree as a symbol for longevity, and the grapes are representative of the peach’s immortality.Estimate: $300—500
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