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Lot n° 514


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A RARE AND EARLY ANTLER INGYO (SEAL) NETSUKE OF A KIRIN Unsigned Japan, 17th century, Edo period (1615-1868) Boldly carved in the manner of a silk seal (itoin), depicting a somewhat stylized baying kirin, its body and neck lifted in a dynamic pose and its long horns stretching down towards its back. The mythical beast’s underside carved with deep incisions, its scales boldly articulated and well worn. Natural himotoshi. The underside cut with large seal characters. HEIGHT 7.6 cm Condition: Very good condition with minor typical wear. Provenance: Hôtel des ventes Giroux, Brussels, 11 December 1948. Collection of Robert and Isabelle de Strycker, acquired from the above. Robert de Strycker (1903-1968) was a French engineer who specialized in metallurgy. He was a Stanford graduate, a professor at the University of Leuven, a director of the Institute of Metallurgy at the Université Catholique de Louvain, and one of the most influential members of the faculty of applied sciences. After World War II, he made large contributions to France’s post-war recovery. Robert and his wife Isabelle (1915-2010) first encountered Japanese art at the British Museum during a stay in London in the 1930s. Enamored with the style and beauty, they both decided to study and collect Japanese works of art. In 1938 they eventually began to build their collection, buying from Belgian, Parisian, and English dealers. They kept close contact with the famous English collector Sir Harry Garner (1891-1977) and noted Czech collector and expert Fritz Low-Beer (1906-1976). In 1964, the couple lent 174 objects from their collection to the Belgian city of Leuven’s museum for an exhibition titled Oude kunst in Leuvens Privébezit (‘Old Art in Private Collections in Leuven’), and in 1967 they lent around thirty Japanese objects to the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels for their exhibition Kunst van Japan im Belgischen Privatverzameingen (‘Japanese Art in Belgian Private Collections’).