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Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Part I

Christie's New York

September 15, 2011 (Lots 1101-1267)

September 16, 2011 (Lots 1268-1439)

Sale 2463

Ritual bronze wine vessel and cover

Lot 1118, Archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, Middle Western Zhou dynasty, China, circa 9th Century B.C., 21 1/2 inches high

By Carter B. Horsley

This auction of Chinese works of art at Christie's New York September 15 and 16, 2011 is highlighted by a nice selection of archaic bronzes, some excellent large screens, and some good ceramics.

Lot 1118 is an impressive, large bronze ritual wine vessel and cover from the Middle Western Zhou dynasty, circa 9th Century B.C., China.  It is 21 1/2 inches high and is distinguished by the curved elements of its decorations.   It was once in the collection of The Tsui Museum of Art.  It has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.  It sold for $902,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

Of the 573 lots offered, 456, or 80 percent, sold for $38,842,525.

In a statement after the two-day auction, Michael Bass and Christopher Engle, co-heads of the Department of Chinese Works of Art in New York said that "The outstanding result across the board for porcelain, furnituature, paintings and works of art demonstrate the continued and remarkable strnth of the Chinese art market."  "Once again," they continued, "fine examples in all categories from private collections with distinguished provenance achieved exceptional prices.  Spiriting bidding prevailed throughout both days, lead by strong interest from greater China and supported by North America, Europe and the whole of Asia."  

Tina Zonars, the international director of Chinese Works of Art for Christie's said that "we were fortunate to offer two important private collections, which were exceptionally well received. Combined with the strong and well-balanced works of art sale, this series of Chinese art auctions in New York realized our second highest total ever, culminating in full-year results more than 40 percent above those achieved in 2010.  This illustrates the increasing momentum of the Chinese art market."

Late Ming/Early Qing dynasty bronze bell    Detail of Lot 1165

Lot 1165, large bronze bell, Late Ming/Early Qing dynasty, 17th Century, 20 1/2 inches high

Lot 1165 is a large bronze bell from the Late Ming/Early Qing dynasty, 17th Century.  It is 20 1/2 inches high.  Although the body of the bell is rather plain, its handle is quite impressive and fearsome.  It has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.  It failed to sell.

Bronze bell, Bo Zhong

Lot 1115, bronze bell, Bo Zhong, Spring and Autumn Period, early 5th Century B.C., 12 3/4 inches high

Lot 1115 is a bronze bell, Bo Zhong from the Spring and Autumn Period, early 5th Century B.C.  It is 12 3/34 inches high.  It was once in the Tsui Museum of Art.  It has an estimate of $80,000 to $100,000.  It sold for $104,500.


Ritual bronze tripod food vessel, ding

Lot 1113, ritual bronze tripod food vessel, ding, Spring and Autumn Period, (770-476 B.C.), 24 1/2 inches wide

Lot 1113 is a "massive" ritual bronze tripod food vessel, ding, from the Spring and Autumn Period, 770-476 B.C.  It is 24 1/2 inches wide.  It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  It sold for $146,500.


Pair of bronze mask and ring handles, foreground

Lot 1128, pair of bronze mask and ring handles, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- A.D. 220), 4 1/2 inches across each

Lot 1128 is a handsome pair of bronze mask and ring handles from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220).  Each is 4 1/2 inches across.  The lot has an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.  It sold for $10,625.


Unusual bronze mask fitting

Lot 1135, unusual bronze mask fitting, Late 6th/Early 5th Century B.C., 4 3/16 inches wide

Lot 1135 is an unusual bronze mask fitting from the Late 6th Century/Early 5th Century.  It is 4 3/16 inches wide.  It is cast as a monster mask with protruding tongue and bulging eyes below a pair of ornate openwork horns formed by slender, twisting, spirally dragons biting their own bodies, which have hooked projections and small circular cells for inlay.  It has a modest estimate of $5,000 to $7,000  It sold for $5,000.


Gilt-lacquered bronze figure of Shakyamuni

Lot 1382, gilt-lacquered bronze figure of Shakyamuni Buddha, Yuan/Early Ming Dynasty, 13th-15th Century, 8 1/4 inches high

Lot 1382 is a very nice gilt-lacquered bronze figure of Skakyamuni Buddha from the Yuan/Early Ming Dynasty, 13th-15th Century.  It is 8 1/4 inches high and has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.  It sold for $68,500.

12-panel 17th Century screen

Lot 1347, 12-panel screen, 17th Century, each panel 85 2/3 by 23 1/2 inches

The most spectacular work in the auction is Lot 1347, a "rare and magnificent" 12-panel 17th Century screen.  Each panel measures 85 2/3 by 23 1/2 inches.  

Detail of Lot 1347


Detail of Lot 1347

Alan Priest, a former head of the Chinese Art Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquired it in Beijing in 1919 and it was formerly in the Robert Hatfield Ellsworth Collection in New York.  It has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000.  It failed to sell.


Five-panel jade-inlaid hardwood throne screen

Lot 1359, five-panel, jade-inlaid, hardwood throne screen, 94 3/4 by 120 1/2 inches

Lot 1359 is a "massive" and impressive five-panel, jade-inlaid, hardwood throne screen.  It measures 94 3/4 by 120 1/2 inches and has an estimate of $120,000 to $150,000.  It failed to sell.

Grey stone head of an official

Lot 1364, head of an official, grey stone, Liao Dynasty, 907-1125, 31 inches high

Lot 1364 is a large and impressive grey stone head of an official from the Liao dynasty (907-1125).  It is 31 inches high and has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000.  It sold for $182,500.

Large gilt-bronze figure of Vairocana

Lot 1383, gilt bronze figure of Vairocana, Ming Dynasty, 16th Century, 20 1/4 inches high

The cover illustration of the catalogue is Lot 1383, a "very rare large finely cast bronze figure of Vairocana," Ming Dynasty, 16th Century.  It is 20 1/4 inches high and has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  It sold for $722,500.

The catalogue entry notes that "Vairocana is considered to be the Great Solar Buddha of Light and Truth, and is the Bliss Body of the hisotrical Buddha in Buddhist Law.  Vairocana is also considered one of the Five Dhyani Buddhas, also known as the Five Wisdom Tathagatas, which  are representatives of the five qualities of the Buddha."

Another bronze figure of Vairocana, gilt-lacquered, is Lot 1367.  It is 48 inches high and dates to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).  It has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $1,314,400.

Part II
2 PM, September 16, 2011
Lots 1440-1675

Sale 2643

The top-selling item in the auction was Lot 1547, a rare blue and white Ming-Style Moonflask, Qianlong Seal Mark in Underglaze Blue and of the period (1736-1795).  It is 13 3/4 inches high and has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000.  It sold for $2,658,500.

Gilt and enameled porcelain figure of a Bodhisattva


Lot 1657, gilt and enameled porcelain figure of a Bodhisattva, 15 3/4 inches high, 18th-19th Century

Lot 1657 is a "rare" gilt and enameled porcelain figure of a Bodhisattva from the18th to 19th Century.  It is 15 3/4 inches high and has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.

Enameled famille rose teapot


Lot 1652, enameled famille rose teapot, Jiaqing seal mark in iron red and of thepierod (1796-1820), 7 7/8 inches high

Lot 1652 is a "rare and finely enameled teapot, Jiaqing seal mark in iron red and of the period (1796-1820)."  It is 7 7/8 inches high and has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. 

Reverse-decorated blue and white bowl

Lot 1585, reverse-decorated blue and white bowl and cover, Yongzheng six-character marks in underglaze blue and of the period (1723-1735), 6 7/8 inches wide bowl, cover 7 1/2 inches wide

Lot 1585 is a "very rare" reverse-decorated blue and white bowl and cover with Yongzheng six-character marks in underglaze blue and of the period (1723-1735).  It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $386,500.


Flambe-glazed vase

Lot 1600, flambe-glazed vase, Qianlong incised seal mark and of the period (1736-1795), 8 1/4 inches high

Lot 1600 is a stunning and "very rare and unusual" flambe-glazed vase, Qianlong incised seal mark and of the period (1736-1795).  It is 8 1/4 inches high and has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.  It sold for $542,500.

Massive turquoise and sancai-glazed pottery figure of an earth spirit

Lot 1455, massive turquoise and sancai-glazed pottery figure of an earth spirit, Tang Dynasty, (618-907), 47 1/4 inches high

Lot 1455 is a very large turquoise and sancai-glazed pottery figure of an earth spirit from the Tang Dynasty (618-907).  It is 47 1/4 inches high and has an estimate of $120,000 to $150,000.  It failed to sell.

Cizhou-type black-glazed ribbed baluster vase

Lot 1464, Cizhou-type, black glazed ribbed baluster vase, Northern Sung/Jin Dynasty, 12th-13th Century, 6 inches high

Lot 1464 is a lovely and unusual small Cizhou-type black glazed ribbed baluster vase from the Northern Sung/Jin Dynasty (12th-13th Century).  It is 6 inches high and is similar to one in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  It has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.  It failed to sell.

Doucai hexagonal jardiniere, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1662-1722)

Lot 1549, Doucai hexagonal jardiniere, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue in a line and of the period (1662-1722), 22 inches long

Lot 1549 is a rare Doucai hexagonal jardiniere with a Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue in a line and of the period (1662-1722).  It is 22 inches long and has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  It sold for $242,500.

Group of processional figures

Lot 1486, group of processional figures, furniture and tribute, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), largest 15 1/2 inches high

Lot 1486 is a group of five figures on horseback and 21 attendants and musicians and a larg shrine and an altar, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).  The largest figure is 15 1/2 inches high.  The lot has a modest estimate of $25,000 to $35,000.  It sold for $18,750.

Massive pair of sancai-glazed roof ridge terminal tiles

Lot 1482, pair of massive sancai-glazed roof ridge terminal tiles, 51 inches high

Lot 1483 is an impressive pair of sancai-glazed roof ridge terminal tiles, Ming Dynasty.  They are 51 inches high and have an estimate of $80,000 to $100,000.  The lot failed to sell.

Pair of glazed tilework panels

Lot 1481, pair of large glazed tilework panels, Ming Dynasty, 17 1/2 by 65 inches, each

Lot 1481 is a pair of Ming Dynasty large glaze tilework panels depicting dragons.  They are 17 1/2 by 65 inches each.  The lot has estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.  It sold for $47,500.



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