Michael Bass and Christopher Engle, Co-Heads of Sale, Chinese Works of Art, New York, said: "Todays sale demonstrated strong enthusiasm across all categories supported mainly by private collectors worldwide. In a salesroom packed for two full days, we witnessed numerous record rices including those achieved for th very rare carved rhinoceros horn "log-raft" cyp ($3,106,500 million), a magnificent white jade brush pot ($1,762,500 million), and a handsome set of Zitan armchairs ($506,500). The momentum continued unabated throughout the afternoon session with outstanding results achieved for the exceptionally rare early Ming monochorme ceramics from the Corbin Collection, including the imperial white-glazed deep bowl ($1,178,500), the pale celadon-glazed compressed globular jar ($1,082,500), and the imperial yellow-glazed dish ($902,500). We were extremely pleased with the exceptional results, which eclipsed the previous record for a series of Chinese art sales in New York by $15 million."
Michael Bass then spoke about Lot 1357, “An Extremely Rare Pale Celadon-Glazed Compressed Globular Jar,” from the Yongle Period, (1403-1425), with an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000,(it sold for $1,082,500), and another incredible jade, mentioned earlier, Lot 1155, “A Magnificent and Finely Carved White Jade Brush Pot,” shown above, with an estimate of $700,000 to $900,000/It sold for $1,762,500), and Lot 956, “A Rare Greyish-Green and Opaque Buff Jade ‘Toothed’ Pendant Fragment,” from the Neolithic Period, circa 3500-3000 B.C., (estimate $30,000 to $50,000, which passed), illustrated at the top of the story, is from The Arthur M. Sackler Collections.
Detail of Lot 1155, Brush pot from the Qianglong Period, 6 inches high
The significance of the subject matter in another scene is described in Christie’s catalogue for this sale:“On the front of the brush pot, a scholar and his attendant carry sprigs of lingzhi and peaches, both representing long life and immortality. This wish is furthered by the presence of pine trees and a crane in flight, both also symbolic of longevity.”
Lot 987, One (illustrated) of “Two Rare Sandstone Wall Fragments of Apsaras,” Song-Early Ming Dynasty, 10th-14th Century, 29 and 27 inches. Estimate $40,000 to $60,000Lot 987 consists of two rare sandstone wall fragments of Apsaras from the Song-Early Ming Dynasty, 10th - 14th Century A.D. One is 29 inches long and the other 27. The lot has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. The works came the Arthur M. Sackler Collections and Frank Caro in New York. It passed.
Lot 1168, “An Embellished Spinach Jade Five-Piece Garniture,” the tallest 13¼ inches
There are several reasonably priced jades of great antiquity on offer at this sale, including Lot 966, “Five Small Jade Bird-Form Pendants,” illustrated above (estimate $4000 to $6000), and Lot 952, “A Rare Altered Opaque Buff Jade Hoof-Shaped Tubular Ornament,” (estimate $4,000 to $6,000), from the Neolithic Period, Hongshan Culture - the same vintage as the diminutive tomb pendant - circa 3500 B.C. It is remarkable they have survived this long, and in such good condition. Buried with the deceased “They are now thought to be some kind of hair ornament, as they have been found under or next to the head of the occupants of Hongshan tombs” (Christie’s catalogue for this sale). It is so finely designed it looks like the best contemporary sculpture. Chinese archaeologists excavating Hongshan sites labeled this distinctively shaped hairpiece “horse hoof,” and that is exactly what it looks like.
Extremely winsome and very ancient, Lot 1004, “A Very Rare Early White Marble Figure of a Recumbent Water Buffalo,” (estimate $80,000 to $120,000), Shang Dynasty, circa 12th – 11th Century B.C., looks incredibly contemporary, described in Christie’s catalogue as a “powerful, minimally carved block, it is characteristic of stone animal carvings of the Shang dynasty.” It sold for $98,500.
1299, is exactly as it is described in the catalogue, “A Superb
Cup,” an incredible object from the Kangxi Period, (1662-1722), that,
to Christie’s catalogue is “conceived as a large inverted banana
leaf with meticulously rendered veining, nestled within smaller banana
entangled with fruiting mulberry, with a praying mantis shown on one
to an insect-eaten section of a folded over banana leaf that forms the
of the cup under which a large katidid seeks shelter, its large plump
hind-quarters shown peeking out on the reverse...” It is so incredible
overrides any reservations I have about utilizing rhino horns for any
besides that which the animal itself would use it for. This cup was
hundreds of years ago, when rhinos were plentiful.
The top selling lot of the sale, Lot 1300, "A Magnificent and extremely rare" rhinoceros horn "log-raft" cup, Kangxi Period, 12 1/4 inches long, 1662-1722
Also from the Kangxi
Lot 1439, “A Large Flambe-Glazed Bottle Vase,” Quianglong Impressed Six-Character Seal Mark and Of the Period (1736-1795), 17 7/8 inches high
Lot 1439, (estimate $250,000 to $350,000), the gorgeous vase illustrated above, a personal favorite because it seems both ancient and contemporary, is described to perfection in Christie’s catalogue:
“With ovoid body rising from the slightly flared foot to a tall cylindrical neck, covered all over with a brilliant streaked flambe glaze varying from mauve to lavender and thinning to a pale mushroom at the rim, the base covered wit a mottled brown and pale celadon glaze.” "This distinctive glaze seeks to recreate the famous, classical Jun wares of the Song period," the entry added. It sold $362,500.
Front: Lot 1213, “A Pair of Rare Large Zitan and Huamu Armchairs,” 19th Century, 40 inches high by 24 ½ inches wide by 20 ¼ inches deep; Back: Lot 1202, “A Zitan Veneer, Hardwood and Jichimu Three-Railing Bed, Luohanchuang,” Quing Dynasty (1644-1911), 41 1/8 inches high by 75 3/8 inches wide by 50 ½ inches deep
separate the Chinese furniture illustrated here. Lot 1213, “A Pair of
Large Zitan and Huamu Armchairs,” (estimate $80,000 to $120,000) were
carved with archaistic scrolls in the 19th
century, while sumptuous
Lot 1202, “Zitan Veneer, Hardwood and Jichimu
Bed, Luohanchuang,” was created in the
Qing Dynasty, an exceptional reign, 1644-1911. There is an atmospheric
photograph of this bed in
situ in the family’s
1258, “A Rare and Unusual ‘Imitation Coral’
Lacquer Stand,” 18th-19th Century, 6
3/8 inches; Rear:
Lot 1223, “A Rare ‘Chrysanthemum Stone’ Scholars Rock,” 12 3/8 inches
beautiful scholar's rock illustrated above, Lot 1223, was
included in a book entitled “Art of the Natural World: Resonances of
Nature in Chinese Sculptural Art,” Museum of Fine Arts,
Another exquisite, remarkable and spectacular scholar's rock from the same collection is Lot 1222. The catalogue describes it as "an unusual large black lingbi rock in the form of a standing phoenix. It is18 1/4 inches high. It has a modest estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It passed.
have loved the turquoise vase, depicting an ornamental garden, the
perfect “prop” for one of his still life paintings:
Lot 1070, “Lotus,” by Zhang Daqian, 1969, scroll mounted and framed, ink and color on paper,26 3/8 by 53 ¼ inches
1070 is a modern painting by Zhang Daqian, entitled “Lotus”
that is inscribed with a poem - a fine ancient Chinese tradition -
among the lotus. It was painted in
As the lot numbers indicate, this sale is awash with hundreds of delectable works of art, and it is virtually impossible to begin to describe a fraction of them in a short review. The overriding and overwhelming impression of the artistry in these galleries was mind-boggling when one stops to think that so many of the artifacts were created hundreds - and thousands - of years ago, when none of the tools we take for granted today existed. In every century, Chinese artisans, sculptors and artists excelled in different ways. The range of materials, design concepts and technical virtuosity on display here is a testament to the creative impulse and spirit through the ages.
Tina Zonars, International Director of Chinese Works of Art said after the auction: "Today's auction was a phenomenal end to Asian Art Week. The strength of the Chinese art market combined with an extraordinary group of works of supreme quality and works of art that came from prestigious private collections including the Dr. and Mrs. William L. Corbin Collection, the Palmer Collection, The Richard Rosenblum Collection and many others. The Sackler name once again proved irresistible to bidders, resulting in a sale total of $686,000, far exceeding the pre-sale estimate. Combined, the two sales were 94% sold by value, which reflects the robust and escalating market for the traditional collecting categories for Chinese Art."