Stolen ivory miniatures attract pounds 15,000 reward
Wednesday 04 August 1993
The ivory pieces, taken from Sydney L Moss Oriental Art, have a combined value of pounds 156,000. Among the most important are an ivory netsuke of a Shishi, a Buddhist lion dog, and a goat, dating from about 1780 and 1760 respectively.
Douglas Wright, of Sydney L Moss, believes professionals carried out the theft as it took them just two minutes to smash through a strengthened glass door and break into a display-case.
Because most netsuke are no larger than a ping-pong ball, they are relatively easy to smuggle. 'You could walk out of the country with 50,' said Philip Saunders, of Trace magazine, which liaises with the police and art trade in tracking down stolen works of art. Indeed, security reasons force most serious netsuke collectors to keep these tiny treasures (in materials such as ivory, wood, coral, bone and shell) in safes or bank vaults.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of thefts of netsuke. The July issue of Trace magazine details 83 Japanese items taken in a burglary in Poole, Dorset.
Mr Wright said: 'Someone's targeting netsuke. It's a new thing . . . suddenly the underworld is awakening. Perhaps because there has been such interest on the legal market.'
Although not discounting the theory of someone stealing-to-order, he added: 'If someone's filthy rich, they can afford to buy netsuke. The dearest netsuke was sold for pounds 125,000 at Sotheby's two years ago.'
The fact that the pieces are well-documented will also make them difficult to sell. 'Unless they've found a buyer who has no scruples as to owning them . . . these pieces will be 'buried' for a while,' Mr Wright said.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 3 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
- 4 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: I have depression. That doesn't make me a psychopath
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
Germanwings plane crash: Investigators may have already found remains of suspected killer co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
Children take eight Isis captives to be beheaded in latest propaganda video
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A publishing company based in F...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This multi-award winning foreig...
£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Structural Engineer ...
£22000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A New Business Manager role sui...