Terms & Conditions

General

At ARTES JAPONICA we strive to do our best to satisfy each and every customer that deals with us. For a number of years we have sold countless Japanese antiques on eBay and reading the testimonials listed should speak for themselves.
Are there ever any problems? Sure; what business does not have something happen along the way; It is for this reason that we have stopped selling netsuke (too many fakes on the market), only rarely sell tsuba, and as for anything porcelain, well, the risk is too great for a potential crack or chip which can reduce a $500 tea ceremony bowl to a few dollars. And anytime anything goes through the international postal system there is a risk, even tiny, of something going wrong (theft, damage, loss).

That said, we have minimized the risks by shipping via EMS (Express Mail Service) and occasionally we have used UPS or FedEx when shipping to areas on the planet where EMS is not recognized (ie. Rumania). We also insure all items sent with EMS, though there are some exceptions (see below).

Payment

- We prefer bank wire transfers because, we feel, they are the safest and most reliable of all methods of payment. We have never had a problem with a bank payment and because we also have a bank account in France with HSBC (under the owner's name) European buyers, especially French buyers, have the option of doing a bank transfer in euro, or sending a personal check to us in Japan, which we endorse and then send back to the bank (though this takes time).

- International Postal Money Orders. We have been paid occasionally by Postal Money Orders by some clients who live in countries where bank transfers are difficult or they prefer that method. Payment should be made out in Japanese funds if possible. US funds are also acceptable. We would prefer NOT to be paid in cash by mail, though within Japan with the method called "genkin kakitome" this is possible, and safe.

- Payment via Paypal for our eBay items is no problem but the buyer should be aware that because Paypal is costly for us (the sellers), as much as 7%, we accordingly mark items up 4% to balance out our loss.

- We do not accept US checks, even cashier checks. Japan's bank system is not geared for accepting checks readily. As stated before, French checks are acceptable.

Guarantee of authenticity

We realize that mutual trust is important for any Internet purchase. Doing business on eBay has taught us that there are many people who would like to buy the many interesting things they see, but sometimes don't know whether they can trust the seller as to authenticity, but also regarding time period and general condition of the item.

Because there are two partners in this business, we constantly monitor each other when we acquire new items, and if in doubt will consult other professionals we know both here in Chiba Prefecture and in Tokyo. We have also consulted with licensed experts in France with whom we have done business. However, as buyers even at reputable places like Sotheby's and Christie's have discovered, even professionals make mistakes (this is often the case with netsuke, some of which are brilliantly copied in places in China and weathered to look like they were made in the Edo era. Swords are another area which demands careful attention).

Should such a incident happen, we will work with the client to make sure that in the end both parties are mutually satisfied. This may take the form of a reimbursement, a gift, or perhaps a discount on a future purchase. We treat such problems on a case by case basis, the main reason being that swords, for example, once out of Japan, cannot be returned. Or if an item arrives damaged, but the client wants it anyway, we will take matters up with the postal authorities for insurance claims and will look for financial compensation.

Regarding age of antiques

We use the Japanese calendar to identify all our antiques. When a French buyer asks whether it's 19th century, this is irrelevant because there are often vast differences between items made during the Edo period (1603-1867) and that of the Meiji period (1868-1912). Tansu (chests) made prior to 1867, for example had hand-forged nails. With the advent of western machines in the 1870s hand-forged nails disappeared practically overnight. Using the Japanese era names also situates the buyer in Japanese history. A sword forged during the Muromachi era will have characteristics that are different from the sword use during the Edo era, and so indicating that a sword or helmet made in, say, in the 2nd year of the Genki era (1572) will have more relevance than indicating that it was made in the 16th century.
This having been made clear, we will always indicate to the buyer the approximate age of the item also using the Gregorian calendar. And again, we strive to be as accurate as possible, asking, if necessary, the help of other experts in the field to ascertain the correct age of any given antique we sell.

Insurance

All items shipped via EMS, unless the client requests otherwise, are insured to the full value of the purchase price. We are asked occasionally, especially from some clients in Germany or Switzerland to declare a value less then what they paid. The client will then have to understand that the risks are 100% the burden of the said client and the seller will in no way be financially responsible for loss or damage incurred during shipping. European postal officials and Customs officials have become very strict in recent years, in part because of fraud but also because of "911" and terrorism. Parcels to the UK, for example, are sometimes held for longer periods of time for careful inspection than that of other countries. In the case of sword sales, all swords leaving Japan are subject to having to have an export document which will allow the said sword to leave the country, and this is issued only by the Ministry of Culture, a process which takes a minimum of 2 weeks.

In the event of damage, the client is to immediately take photos of the item in the condition they found it in, if possible with the original packing. These photos are then to be sent back to us and claim forms will be filled out by us. In each case where breakage has occurred, it has taken as long as five months to obtain a full refund and the client should be aware of this delay. Insurance cannot be obtained on items valued at less than $200.

The seller's policies

- Due to a variety of situations we have had with some eBay sales, we reserve the right to refuse to carry through with a sale at our discretion.

- Use of our photos or text is not to be used without prior consent.

- Especially in the case of swords and antique firearms, the buyer bears full responsibility regarding safety, as well as local, state and federal laws where applicable. This is also true regarding taxes to be paid and/or duties at the time of purchase.

- The buyer will bear full responsibility for the proper mounting of such items as armor, swords and firearms. If you have never disassembled/assembled armor, sword or firearms, doing so in the wrong manner could result in some serious (and expensive) damage, for which we are not liable.