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Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

Sotheby's

Wednesday, 11 AM, September 16, 2009


Sales 8565

Palace scene coromandel screen

Lot 157, 12 panel brown lacquer coromandel Palace Scene screen, Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period, each panel 108 by 20 1/4 inches

All photos by Carter B. Horsley

By Michele Leight

This September 16, 2009 auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at Sotheby's is highlighted by three huge coromandel  lacquer screens.  According to Mee-Seen Loong, a consultant in the department at Sotheby's, such large works were eagerly sought after by collectors with palatial homes and there are probably a few thousand in existence.  Such huge 19th Century screens were usually decorated on both sides and two of the three in this auction have very beautiful backs with individual panels decorated with still lifes as opposed to a panoramic scene.

Lot 157 is a large brown lacquer coromandel screen that depicts a "Palace Scene" and the catalogue notes that it is "notable for the fine quality of the painting, particularly the rendering of the figures down to thedetailed facial features."  There are mythical animals depicted on the botton sectin of each panel.  The lot has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.  It sold for $116,500 including the buyer's premium.

The auction sold 74.9 percent of 195 offered lots for a total of $10,917,425.


"Bridges of West Lake" coromandel screen

Lot 144, 12 panel black lacquer coromandel "Bridges of West Lake" screen, Qing Dynasty, Kangzi Period, 8-foot-10 1/2 inches by 19 3/4 inches each

Lot 144 is a large black lacquer coromandel screen that depicts the famous West Lake of Hangzhou that was purported to have been much admired by Marco Polo.  The depiction of the mountains is particularly dramatic and three-dimensional and very colorful.  The lot has a modest estimate of $120,000 to $150,000. It failed to sell.

Detail of "Bridges of West Lake" screen

Detail of Lot 144, "Bridges of West Lake" screen


back of Palace Scene screen

Photograph of back of Lot 144, "Bridges of West Lake" screen


"Mansion of Perfect Fenyang" screen

Lot 131, 12 panel black lacquer coromandel "Mansion of Prefect Fenyang" screen, 106 by 18 3/4 inches each, Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period

Lot 131 is a large coromandel screen that shows the palace of prince Guo Ziyi (697-781) who quelled an uprisingin his yourth.  The catalogue says that hthisscreen is related to one attributed to the 18th Century that was fomerly in the C. Ruxton and Audrey B. Love Collection. It said that the two screens were clearly from the same workshop as indicated by the rollingtlotus and gilong borders, the Buddhist lion statues, the lingering scrolling clubs and the graphically linear architectural perspective of the palace quarters  The lot has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.  It sold for $602,500, an auction record for a coromandel screen.

Hanging and bronze statue of Avalokitesvara

Lot 129, right, bronze figure of an eleven-headed and multi-armed Avalokitesvara, Ming Dynasty, 17th Century, 47 1/2 inches high; and Lot 130, painting of Avalokitesvara, dated 2nd year ofthe Chongzhen Period of the Great Ming (1629 A.D.), 133 1/2 by 56 1/2 inches, left

Lot 129 is a rare and large bronze figure from the Ming Dynasty, 17th Century, of an eleven-headed and multi-armed Avalokitesvara.  It was once owned by Isabella Stewart Gardner and was in her museum in Boston until 1971.  She had purchased it from the Japanese dealer Yamanaka & Co.,  The lot has an estimate of $200,000 to $250,000.  It sold for $314,500. The auction also has a rare and impressive 17th Century Chinese painting of Avalokitesvara, Lot 130, with 36 revered officials and 28 lunar mansions.  The lot has an estimate of $120,000 to $150,000. It sold for $530,500.

Blue andwhite dragon jar

Lot 120, Blue and white dragon jar wanli mark and period, 21 inches high

Lot 120 is an impressive blue and white dragon jar with a wanli mark.  It is 21 inches high and had been on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1968 to 2009.  A related jar is in theTopkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul.  The catalogue notes that "a heightened sense of vivacity of the design has been made possible by the considerable amount of space made available by its large size.  Such sizeable jars were extremely difficult to fire and are testament ot the technical virtuosity of the Jingdezhen potters of the late Ming period.  The lot has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $218,500.

Blue and white sprinkler

Lot 191, Blue and White Sprinkler, Ming Dynasty, Jiajing period, 9 1/4 inches high

Lot 191 is a rare and impressive blue and white sprinkler from the Ming Dynasty, Jiajing period.  It is 9 1/4 inches high and has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  It failed to sell.


Archaic bronze ritual wine vessel

Lot 121, Archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, Lei Western Zhou Dynasty, 17 1/4 inches high

Lot 121 is a large Archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, Lei Western Zhou Dynasty.  It is 17 1/4 inches high and has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.  It sold for $386,500.

Gilt bronze figure of a Lokapala

Lot 123, gilt bronze figure of a Lokapala, Tang Dynasty, 4 1/4 inches high

One of the most charming items in the auction is Lot 123, a gilt bronze figure of a Lokapala.  The Tang Dynasty figure is only 4 1/4 inches high.  It has an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It sold for $32,500.

Mother-of-pearl inlaid black lacquer table

Lot 137, mother-of-pearl inlaid black lacquer wine table, Jiu Zuo Ming Dynasty, Wanli period, 30 1/2 by 46 by 30 1/4 inches

Lot 137 is a mother-of-pearl lacquer wine table from the Wanli Period of the Ming Dynasty.  It measures 30 1/2 by 46 by 30 1/4 inches.  It was formerly in the collection of Mrs. Nelson A. Rockefeller, Roger Vivier Collection, the Rothschild Collection and Bernard Baruch Steinitz of Paris.  It has an ambitious estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It failed to sell.

Limestone head of Buddha

Lot 125, head of Buddha, limestone, Northern Wei/Eastern Wei Dynasty, early 6th Century, 15 inches high

Lot 125 is a rare limestone head of Buddha, 15 inches high, Northern Wei/Eastern Wei Dynasty.  The early 6th Century work has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $98,500.


"Orchids and Bamboo" by Zheng Xie

Lot 174, "Orchids and Bamboo" by Zheng Xie, ink and color on paper, three seals including one by the artist, 36 by 67 1/2 inches

Lot 174 is a large and impressive painting by Zheng Xie (1693-1765) entitled "Orchids and Bamboo."  Although it has some condition problems, it is very attractive and has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $314,500.

"Ladies of the Han Palace" lantern-shaped vase

Lot 222, "Ladies of the Han Palace" lantern-shaped vase, Jiaqing iron-red seal mark and period, 12 1/2 inches high

Lot 222 is a brightly colored and handsome, "famille-rose" "Ladies of the Han Palace" lantern-shaped vase of the Jiaqing iron-red seal mark and period.  It is 12 1/2 inches high.  It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $902,500.

Lot 260, a fine and large pale celadon jade vase and cover, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period, sold for $926,500, more than triple its high pre-sale estimate.  It is 11 inches high.




ŠThe City Review and Michele Leight, 2009

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