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Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art
Sotheby's
September 15, 2010
Sale 8659


"Landscape in commemoration of retirement to Wu Shan" by Yao Shou

"Lot 315, "Landscape in commemoration of retirement to Wu Shan" by Yao Shou, ink and color on paper, handscroll, 11 by 39 inches

By Carter B. Horsley

The auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at Sotheby's September 15, 2010 has several Chinese handscrolls from the collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, a major patron of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Lot 315 is a very lovely work by Yao Shou (1422-1495) entitled "Landscape in commemoration of retirement to Wu Shan.  It measures 11 by 39 inches and has a seal of the artist.
 After the painting, there are 23 colophons by the artist's contemporaries, a group of officials in the Chenghua Emperor's court.  According to the preface by Li Dongyang, this scroll was dedicated to Wen Hung, the grandfather of the famous artist Wen Zhengming (477-1559).  The handscroll was illustrated in color in "Parting at the Shore: Chinese Pantings of the Early and Middle Ming Dynasty,1368-1580" which was published in 1978 by James Cahill. The lot has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.  It sold for $1,082,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

The total for the auction was $15,170,375 with 141 of the 233 offered lots selling.

"We are delighted with the total... which exceeded the high estimate," declared Dr. Caroline Schulten, Sotheby's Head of Chinese Works.

Another Ellsworth scroll is Lot 316, "River Landscape," by Li Liufang (1575-1620).  It measures 13 by 62 1/2 inches and has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.  It sold for $206,500.

The third Ellsworth scroll is Lot 317, "Pleasures of Fishing," by Qian Gong (1586-1612).  It measures 14 1/2 by 249 inches and has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.  It sold for $74,500.

Untitled hanging scroll by Zhang Daqian

Lot 326, untitled hanging scroll by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) and Pu Ru (1896-1963), 40 1/2 by 16 7/8 inches

According to many sources, see The City Review articles on "Chinagate," Zhang Daquian liked to boast that his paintings hung in many of the world's most famous museums but not necessary attributed to him.  He was not only a formidable painter, if not forger, but also a very important and influential connoisseur.  Lot 326 is a hanging scroll by him and Pu Ru that measures 40 1/2 by 16 7/8 inches.  It was painted in 1932 and comes from the collection of Hans-Juergen von Lochow.  It has a modest estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.  It sold for $25,000.

Imperial painting commemorating the victories of the Muslim Rebellion in the Northwest of Qingkuan

Lot 367, "Important" Imperial painting from the set of 17 paintings commemorating the Victories of the Muslim Rebellion in the Northwest by Qingkuan (flourished late 19th Century), Qing Dynasty,. Guangxu Period, ink and color on silk, 117 by 52 1/4 inches

Lot 367 is an "important" Imperial painting from the set of 17 paintings commemorating the Victories of the Muslim Rebellion in the Northwest by Qingkuan (flourished late 19th Century), Qing Dynasty, Guangxu Period.  An ink and color on silk, it measures 117 by 52 1/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $120,000 to $150,000.  It sold for $992,500.

In 1885, the Guangxu emperor initiated a painting project to commemorate the government victory over the three major rebellions in the 19th Century, the Taiping Rebellion, the Nian Rebellion, and the Muslim Rebellions.  A total of 67 paintings were created and the project was completed in 1890. The only complete set of 12 depicting scenes of the Muslim Rebellions is in the Palace Museum in Beijing.

Magnificent coromandel lacquer 12-fold screen, Qing Dynasty

Lot 338, "Magnificent" polychrome coromandel lacquer 12-fold screen, Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period, each leaf 124 by 23 inches

Lot 338 is a "magnificent" polychrome coromandel lacquer 12-fold screen from the Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period.  Each leaf measures 124 by 23 inches.  The lot was once in the collection of John M. Schiff.  It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  It depicts a festive scene of the Daoist immortals in an idyllic landscape with the God of Longevity Shoulao holding court in a gated grotto.  It passed.

8-fold black lacquer gilt-decorated lacquer screen

Lot 368, 8-fold black lacquer gilt-decorated screen, Qing Dynasty, late 18th/19th Century, each panel 86 by 28 1/2 inches

Lot 368 is a very handsome 8-fold black lacquer gilt screen from the Qing Dynasty, late 18th/19th Century.  Each panel measures 86 by 28 1/2 inches.  The lot has a modest estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It passed.

Jadeite bird-shaped vessel and cover

Lot 412, "Magnificent" jadeite bird-shaped vessel and cover, Late Qing Dynasty, 15 3/8 inches high

Lot 412 is a "magnificent" jadeite bird-shaped vessel and cover from the Late Qing Dynasty.  It is 15 3/8 inches high and was formerly in the Earl Morse collection.  It has a modest estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $632,500.

Carved agate vessel and cover

Lot 424, carved agate vessel and cover, 7 1/4 inches high

One of the auction's most exquisite works is Lot 424, an intricately carved agate vessel and cover that measures 7 1/4 inches high.  It has an modest estimate of $5,000 to $7,000.  It sold for $5,000.

Silver mounted spinach jade bowl with butterfly plaques

Lot 425, silver mounted spinach jade bowl surmounted by butterfly plaques along with tray flanked by white jade belthook-form handles raised on jade scroll feet, and a clock in spinach jade bangle, part of desk set by Edward I. Farmer circa 1900

Lot 425 is a spectacular desk set designed circa 1900 by Edward I. Farmer.  It consists of a silver mounted spinach jade bowl surmounted by butterfly plaques along with tray flanked by white jade belthook-form handles raised on jade scroll feet, and a clock in spinach jade bangle.  The lot has an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000.  It sold for $31,250.

Pair of ormolu-mounted cloisonne elephants

One of a pair of ormolu-mounted cloisonne elephants, Lot 391, Qing Dynasty, Jiaqing Period 15 1/2 inches high


Lot 391 is an impressive pair of ormolu-mounted cloisonne elephants, Qing Dynasty, Jiaqing Period, that were later mounted as a pair of two-branch candelabra.  The lot has an estimate of $35,000 to $45,000. It sold for $43,750.

Parcel-gilt bronze vase, Qing Dynasty

Lot 366, "impressive" and rare parcel-gilt bronze vase, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period, 30 1/2 inches high

Lot 366 is a large "impressive and rare" parcel gilt-bronze vase, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period.  It is 30 1/2 inches high and was fomerly in the collections of Lord Elgin and the Brundage Collection (by repute).  It has an estimate of $140,000 to $180,000. It sold for $422,500.

Bronze bell, Eastern Zhou Dynasty

Lot 283, "rare" bronze bell, Eastern Zhou Dynasty, 16 1/2 inches high

Lot 283 is a "rare" bronze bell from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty.  It is 16 1/2 inches high and has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It passed.


Archaic bronze taotie

Lot 266, Archaic bronze "taotie" fitting, Late Shang/Early Western Zhou Dynasty, 7 1/2 inches high

Lot 266 is a striking and very fine Archaic bronze "taotie" fitting, Late Shang/Early Western Zhou Dynasty.  It is 7 1/2 inches high and was formerly in the Mottahedeh Collection and The Breitbart Collection.  It has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,00,000. It passed.

"Archaic bronze ritual vessel, gu

Lot 268, Archaic bronze ritual vessel, gu, Shang Dynasty, 12th Century B.C., 12 3/4 inches high

Lot 268 is a very fine and elegant Archaic bronze ritual vessel, gu, from the Shang Dynasty.   It is 12 3/4 inches high and has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.  It passed.

Spinach jade vase, hu

Lot 375, "Impressive" spinach jade vase, hu, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period, 10 1/2 inches high

Lot 375 is an "impressive" spinach jade vase, hu, from the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period.  It is 10 1/2 inches high and has an estimate of $350,000 to $450,000.  It was once in the collection of John T. Dorrance Jr. of Philadelphia.  It sold for $422,500.

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