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Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

Christie's

Monday, 4 PM, September 14, 2009, Lots 1-115, and Tuesday, September 15, 2009, 10 AM, Lots 116-467

Sales 2389 and 2196


Junyao tripod narcissus bowl

Lot 341, Junyao tripod "narcissus" bowl, Yuan/Early Ming Dynasty, 14th/15th Century,  8 3/16 inches in diameter, being discussed by a Christie's specialist


All photos by Carter B. Horsley

By Michele Leight

This auction of fine Chinese ceramics and works of art including property from the Arthur B. Sackler Collections at Christie's September 14 and 15, 2009 is highlighted by a rare "narcissus" bowl, some very desirable small early bronze works, an impressive screen, and two very fine early pottery statues.

Lot 341 is a fine and rare numbered Junyao tripod "narcissus" bowl that is dated to the Yuan/Early Ming Dynasty, 14th/15th Century.  It is 8 3/16 inches in diameter and has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. These type bowls are famous for their lustrous opalescence and the catalogue suggests that the number on the base may refer to its size or to the room in the court where it was kept.  The lot sold for $1,258,500 including the buyer's premium to a private Asian collector.

The sale was quite successful with 83 percent of the 351 offered lots selling for a total of $20,659,175.  

"We are delighted with the results of today's sale," Tina Zonars, international director of Chinese works of art at Christie's, said after the auction, "which more than doubled its pre-sale estimate.  In a sale room packed with international buyers, including a strong attendance from China, collectors competed vigorously in the saleroom, on the telephone, and on Christie's LIVE."  

Bronze human-form water dropper

Lot 24, human form water dropper, bronze, Han Dynasty, 206 B.C.-A.D. 220, 9 1/8 inches high

Lot 24 is a marvelous small bronze of a human form water dropper from the Han Dynasty, 206 B.C.-A.D. 220.  It is 9 1/8 inches high and was once in the collection of Oswald Siren.  The figure is holding a pole around which is a slender dragon.  The lot has a conservative estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.  It sold for $57,500.

Gold and silver inlaid bronze corner fitting


Lot 300, bronze corner fitting with gold and silver inlay, Warring States Period, 475-221 B.C., 5 inches high


Lot 300 is a rare silver and gold inlay bronze corner fitting from the Warring States Period, 475-221 B.C.  The stunning piece is 5 inches high.  The catalogue provides the following description: "The fantastic bear-like creature with large pointed ears shown in a crouching position balanced on a single foot in front and spread tail-like supportin back, both arms raised to support an angular corner above, with coiled birds outlining the breasts, dragon scrolls on the shoulders, and further scrolls decorating the remainder of the muscular body, all finely inlaid in gold and silver wire and inlay of varying widths, the greenish-grey patina with some pale blue-green encrustation." The lot has a modest estimate of $50,000 to $70,000.  The catalogue also notes that there are two similar works in the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City and that another pair from the David Weill collection is now the Musee Guimet in Paris.  According to Bishop W. C. White in his book on Tombs of Old Lo-yang, printed in Shanghai in 1934, eight of these supports, which he identified as supports for a low table, "were said to have been found in 1928 in tomb No. 7 of the royal necropolis of the Zhou in Jincun, in the vicinity of Luoyang."  The lot failed to sell.

Cloisonne enamel figure of an equestrian

Lot 209, figure of an equestrian, cloisonne enamel, Qianlong/Jiaqing Period, 1736-1820, 26 inches


Lot 209 is a rare, large cloisonne enamel figure of an equestrian from the Quianlong/Jiaqing Period, 1736-1820.  The 26-inch high figure has a likely pair, according to the catalogue, in the collection of the Albany Institute of Art.  It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $92,500.


12-panel screen, Weiping

Lot 292, Tielimu and Jumu 12-panel screen, Weiping, 18th/19th Century


Lot 292 is an impressive and massive Tielimu and Jumu 12-panel screen, Weiping, 18th/19th Century.  It is 137 inches high and 267 inches wide.  It has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for $62,500.


Pottery figure of a court lady

Lot 305, Court Lady, pottery, 26 inches high, Western Han Dynasty, 206 B.C.-A.D. 8


Lot 305 is a very nice Western Han Dynastry (206 B.C.-A.D. 8) pottery figure of a court lady.  It is 26 inches high and was formerly with C. T. Loo Inc., of New York and the Eliza Miller and Janet de Coux Collection.  It has a modest estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $6,250.


Dark Grey Pottery Figure of an Official

Lot 306, Dark Grey Pottery Figure of an Official, Northern Wei Dynasty, 386-534 A.D., 18 1/8 inches high


Lot 306 also comes from the Eliza Miller and Nanet de Coux Collection as well as from Frank Caro of New York.  It is an impressive dark grey pottery figure of an official and is dated to the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 A.D.).  It is 18 1/8 inches high and has a modest estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.  It failed to sell.

Junyao waterpot and vessel


Lot 340, Junyao waterpot and vessel, Song/Yuan Dynasty, 12th/13th Century, 5 inches across


Lot 340 is an interesting and fine Junyao waterpot and vessel from the Song/Yuan Dynasty, 12th/13th Century.  It is 5 inches across and the catalogue states that "this very rare pomegranate-form combination waterpot and vessel is similar to another, also with Jun glaze, included" in an 1994 exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Art.  This lot has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  It failed to sell.

Opper-red and blue "mallet" vase

Lot 422, underglaze copper-red and blue "mallet" vase, Yaoling Zun, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period 1662-1722, 9 1/8 inches high

Lot 422 is a rare and finely painted "mallet" vase that is 9 1/8 inches high and has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  In the catalogue, Rosemary Scott remarks that "the elegant form of these vases, with their long, slender, slightly waisted necks rising from pronounced shoulders, is particularly associated with the Kangxi reigh.  In Chinese the name given to this form is yaoling zun, or 'hand bell vase.'  The reference is to bronze bells, which formed part of the repertoire of Chinese instruments used in formal secular and religious music, although pottery bells of similar if less  refined form, were made in China as early as the Neolithic period."  It sold for $578,500.


Double-gourd vase


Lot 426, copper-red decorated double-gourd vase, Kangxi/Yongzheng Period (1662-1735) or earlier, 5 1/2 inches high


Lot 426 is a very attractive  and very rare copper-red decorated double-gourd vase from the Kangzi/Yongzheng Period (1662-1735), or earlier.  It is 5 1/2 inches high and has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.  It was once in the collection of John D. Rockefeller III of New York.  It sold for $110,500.

 

©The City Review and Michele Leight, 2009

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