Kodo Arts brings fine Asian antiques to the Sierra

JAKE COSTELLO BRINGS SOME OF Japan’s finest art work and antiques to the Sierra foothills. Jake and his wife, Yuko, own Kodo Japanese Antiques, a Kyoto-based antique dealer with a warehouse in Nevada City.

Kodo Arts’ antique items—including textiles, ceramics, wood, bamboo, paper and metal—are packed in Kyoto and sent to Nevada City in a 40-foot container for shows in Spring and Fall. The next one is Nov. 7-15. Jake and Yuko also hold shows in Southern California and Japan.

“Buying and searching the antique markets and auction houses for past treasures is exciting,” says Jake, who has lived in Kyoto for 30 years and become an expert in Japanese antiques. “When you find something from 1850, like a painted screen, you take it home, sit down with a glass of wine and just go ‘wow’ at its craftmanship.”

The couple finds surprises too. “Sometimes when buying a merchant’s old tansu chest, there are secret drawers, and we have found gold coins,” he adds.

Some of Jake’s favorite antiques include bamboo flower baskets used in tea ceremonies or old kimonos that can be hung on a wall like art.

Kodo tries to offer items for all budgets. It includes 90-year-old Japanese washi rice paper for $1 a sheet, kimono stencils for $20, decorative decor from $100 to $750, and Japanese furniture for up to $3,500. All prices are negotiable.

“For buyers of Asian art, it is a great time to get pieces, as they are relatively inexpensive and there are less and less left—as an investment, the value will surely increase,” Jake says.

Jake came to Japan in 1980 interested in Buddhism and shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute that he studied. One day he met a Frenchman who had cancer and was dying.

“At his house he had all sorts of smiling antique wood figures and dieties and said he wanted to surround himself with these joyful faces,” Jake recalls. “I thought why wait till i die to have such great vibes around me and started
collecting these antiques first.”

Jake learned of Nevada City from a friend. He decided to open a warehouse after repreated visits. “I chose Nevada City because of the beauty and the progressive consciousness,” he says. ‘We could probably make more in a big city but chose lifestyle.”

Kodo Arts
571 Searls Ave, Nevada City

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