NEW YORK, NY.- The sale of Japanese and Korean Art featuring Arts of the Meiji Period will offer a dynamic and varied array of over 250 works on September 15. The Japanese section of the sale will feature a group of enamel arts of the Meiji Period, screens, and bronze works, and the Korean section will offer a private collection of traditional Korean paintings, ceramics and paintings by Korean modern and contemporary artists.
This September, Japanese Art will present more than 50 works of art from the Meiji Period (1867-1912). Leading the section is a lacquer book cabinet (shodana), Meiji Period (late 19th century), signed Heian Zohiko Sakusei (estimate: $350,000-450,000). This lavish cabinet is a special commission, and the art is believed to be the work of the seventh generation Nishimura Hikobei. The elaborate decoration and imagery of musicians and exotic dances with bugaku drums and curtained enclosures evokes the classical novel of court life, Lady Murasaki's Tale of Genji. The palace is shown at the top of the cabinet, the pond and boat with musicians on the bottom, while the young butterfly dancers appear on poem squares on the side of the cabinet.
A Lacquer Book Cabinet (Shodana) . Meiji period (late 19th century), signed Heian Zohiko sakusei [Zohiko Company, Kyoto]. Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
A cabinet comprising four shelves, six sliding doors and four hinged doors decorated with gold lacquer on a mura-nashiji ground with poem cards showing costumed dancers, a sho instrument and a winged dancer with cymbals and drums, each paneled door opening to reveal nashiji interiors, the sliding doors at top with three courtiers seated on a veranda overlooking a garden decorated with bugaku curtain enclosure and three courtiers in hunting costume holding bows and arrows, the hinged doors at center decorated with bugaku dancers in front of another curtained enclosure and the hinged doors at bottom left with four bugaku dancers, drums and a curtained enclosure; the sliding doors below right lacquered with a dragon boat with musicians on a pond and an arched bridge; silver fittings ornamented with flowerheads and engraved scrolling foliage; 49 x 54¾ x 18½in. (124.4 x 139 x 46.9cm.) Estimate $350,000 - $450,000
Notes: This lavish cabinet is a special commission, although the circumstances of its production are as yet unknown. Another Zohiko cabinet, slightly later in date, but with a similar design of court dancing and Genji themes, was exhibited at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto in 1998. The Zohiko lineage dates from the time of the Kyoto lacquer craftsman Nishimura Munetada (1720-1773), who acquired the nickname "elephant boy" (Zohiko) for his lacquer image of the deity Fugen (Samantabhadra) on an elephant mount. This tour de force of the lacquerer's art is believed to be the work of the seventh-generation Nishimura Hikobei. His nephew, the eighth generation, received the gold medal for his work at the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915.
The elaborate decoration of the bookcase evokes the classical novel of court life, Lady Murasaki's Tale of Genji. The imagery of musicians and exotic dances with bugaku drums and curtained enclosures evokes Chapters 7, "An Autumn Excursion" (Momiji no ga), and 24, "Butterflies" (Kocho). The cherry blossoms, little girls dressed as winged butterflies and the boat with dragon-shaped prow carrying musicians and a great drum, poled by a young boy in Chinese attire, suggest chapter 24. In that chapter, Prince Genji orders carpenters to build Chinese-style pleasure boats with dragon and phoenix prows for a lake in the spring garden of Murasaki, his favorite consort. The setting is Genji's Rokujo Palace and the occasion is a visit by Empress Akikonomu. On the second day of the festivities, there is a Buddhist sutra reading. Murasaki dresses her prettiest little attendants as birds and butterflies and sends them to dance in front of Akikonomu's quarters. Here, the palace is shown at the top of the cabinet, the pond and boat with musicians on the bottom, while the young butterfly dancers appear on poem squares on the side of the cabinet.
Additional highlights of the Arts of the Meiji Period include a large cloisonné-enamel vase and a pair of inlaid-bronze vases. The cloisonné-enamel vase of the 1890s is an exquisite masterpiece made in the workshop of Namikawa Yasuyuki of Kyoto, one of the most famous cloisonné-enamel artists of Japan (estimate: $300,000-400,000). The initials of an unidentified Western client, G.P., which is located on the exterior of the enamel foot, and the relatively large size confirm its status as a private order. The pair of monumental in-laid bronze vases, (late 19th century), attributed to Suzuki Chokichi (1848- 1919) (estimate: $250,000-300,000) are believed to have been commissioned by Albert Mosse, a German lawyer who lived in Tokyo from 1886 until 1890. The vases were made by the Kiryu Kosho Kaisha, a state-endorsed art trading company promoting Japanese craft industries. Suzuki Chokichi (1848-1919), renowned for his realistic ornamental sculpture, was the director of the metal-casting division of the company.
A large cloisonné-enamel vase Meiji Period (1890s), Signed on base on square plaque Kyoto Namikawa [Workshop of Namikawa Yasuyuki, 1845-1927] and with initials G.P. on the exterior of the enamel foot. Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
Of elegantly slender high-shouldered ovoid form with a tapered neck and upright, extended rim, minutely worked in very fine gold wire and polychrome enamels with a cock and hen by a flowering cherry tree with smaller plants in the foreground and six other birds flying above against the black enamel ground, the rim and foot ring each enamelled with a band of formal floral ornament between applied enamelled-silver mounts and a further band of flowers and lappets, the flat rim also with a band of dense foliage, the interior of the mouth flat and finished in silver; 11 3/8in. (28.9cm.) high - Estimate $300,000 - $400,000
Literature: Tokyo National Museum, Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, Nagoya City Museum, NHK, NHK Promotions, Co., Ltd. and Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha Ltd., eds., 2005 nen Nihon kokusai hakurankai kaisai kinenten: Seiki no saiten--Bankoku hakurankai no bijutsu--Pari, Uiin, Shikago banpaku ni miru tozai no meihin Commemorating the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan: Arts of East and West from World Expositions--1855-1900: Paris, Vienna and Chicago (Tokyo: NHK, NHK Promotions Co., Ltd. and Nihon keizai shinbunsha Ltd., 2004), pl. I-350.
Cultural and Educational Unit, Yokohama Museum of Art, ed., Dai kaiko ten: Tokugawa shogunke to bakumatsu Meiji no bijutsu--Dai Kai-ko The Art of the Period of Opening the Port of Yokohama from Tokugawa Era to Meiji (Yokohama: Yokohama Museum of Art, 2009), pl. 186.
Exhibited: "2005 nen Nihon kokusai hakurankai kaisai kinenten: Seiki no saiten--Bankoku hakurankai no bijutsu--Pari, Uiin, Shikago banpaku ni miru tozai no meihin Commemorating the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan: Arts of East and West from World Expositions--1855-1900: Paris, Vienna and Chicago," shown at the following venues:
Tokyo National Museum, 2004.7.6--8.29
Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, 2004.10.5--11.28
Nagoya City Museum, 2005.1.5--3.6
Yokohama Museum of Art, "Dai kaiko ten: Tokugawa shogunke to bakumatsu Meiji no bijutsu--Dai Kai-ko The Art of the Period of Opening the Port of Yokohama from Tokugawa Era to Meiji," 2009.9.19--11.23
Notes: This exquisite masterpiece by one of the most famous cloisonné- enamel artists in Japan was a special commission. The initials of an unidentified Western client--G.P.--and the relatively large size confirm its status as a private order. Namikawa Yasuyuki had a small studio in Kyoto, employing some ten craftsmen who sat on tatami mats in a room no more than twenty feet square. Namikawa's work is distinguished by a refined elegance and reserve characteristic of Kyoto-school artists. His output was very limited, and seldom, if ever, appeared on the open market. He won numerous medals at the domestic and international expositions in the late nineteenth century. The Namikawa studio was a favorite destination for wealthy collectors and left a profound impression on several British travelers, including George Henry Peters (1892) and Herbert George Pointing (1903).
Namikawa began working in the 1870s. He benefitted from an association with the German chemist Gottfried Wagener, who had come to Japan in 1868 at the invitation of the Japanese government to help modernize craft industries and organize displays at foreign exhibitions. Wagener worked with Namikawa to enlarge his range of colors. By about 1880, Namikawa had perfected the even, black ground for which he is famous. The invention by Namikawa and his studio of glassy black enamel was a major breakthrough and spread to other factories in Japan. By the mid-1890s, he had moved beyond the profuse decoration typical of Meiji crafts and into the modern era. His designs, as in this example, became more picture than pattern and set new a standard of excellence.
The choice of subject is compelling here. Domestic fowl and cherry blossoms are each quintessentially Japanese, but are an unusual combination. In the Meiji period, anything was possible.
Cloisonné enameling is a long and complicated process in which thin metal wires, in this case gold, are attached on edge to an underlying substrate, often copper. The wires follow the outline of a predetermined design. The spaces between the wires are filled with colored enamels and then fired. The firing process is repeated many times and each time more enamel is filled in. Finally, the enamel is ground down and polished, leaving a glassy surface.
Previously sold Christie's, London, 20 June, 2001, lot 110
A Pair of Monumental Inlaid-Bronze Vases. Meiji period (late 19th century), attributed to Suzuki Chokichi (1848-1919). Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
Each of high-shouldered ovoid form with tapered neck and everted rim and inlaid in gold, silver, copper, shibuichi and shakudo on a rich golden-brown ground with ducks and reeds and with kingfishers, dragonfly, hornet and frog amongst blooming lotuses, the sides of the rims inlaid with geometric meander; 29¾in. (75.5cm.) high each (2) - Estimate $250,000 - $300,000
Provenance: Albert Mosse, Germany
Nakanishi Kenzo, by exchange, 1936
Literature: Nakanishi Kenzo, "Okabin" (Massive flower vase), in "Watashi no jiman" (My pride), Tokyo Shinbun, February 1, 1958
Notes: These magnificent vases are believed to have been commissioned by Albert Mosse (1846-1925), a German lawyer who lived in Tokyo from 1886 until 1890. He was hired on contract to serve as foreign advisor to the Japanese government in the drafting of a Prussian-style monarchical constitution. He also served as cabinet advisor in the Home Ministry, helping to draft laws for local government.
The vases were made by the Kiryu Kosho Kaisha, a state-endorsed art trading company promoting Japanese craft industries. Kiryu Kosho Kaisha employed about sixty craftsmen, exhibited wares at various world expositions and opened branches in New York and Paris. Suzuki Chokichi (1848-1919), renowned for his realistic ornamental sculpture, was the director of the metal-casting division of the company. His great eagle won him a prize and wide recognition at the 1885 Internationale Ausstellung Nuremberg.
In recognition of Mosse's service to Japan, the government asked a member of the Fushimi-no-Miya branch of the Imperial family (probably Sadanaru Shin'no, 1858-1923), to arrange for the presentation of the vases. Sadanaru asked Foreign Minister Aoki Shuzo (1844-1914) to deliver the vases to Mosse. In 1936, the family of Mosse's grandson, hoping to raise funds to flee the Nazis and escape to Brazil, asked the Japanese embassy in Berlin to find a buyer for the vases. Nakanishi Kenzo, owner of the Nakagan Trading Company in Berlin, paid the family's travel expenses and received the vases in exchange.
The sale will also include a massive, reticulated gilt-bronze hanging lantern, Momoyama Period (late 16th-early 17th century) (estimate: $300,000-400,000). Few such hexagonal lanterns have survived and this is an exceptionally important example. All the details are cast with great care and skill, making it one of the finest forms of metalwork from the Momoyama period. Chrysanthemum and paulwonia are associated with Hideyoshi, the Momoyama-period ruler. This gorgeous lantern might have hung from the eaves of Hideyoshi's Jurakudai mansion.
A Massive, Reticulated Gilt-Bronze Hanging Lantern. Momoyama period (Late 16th-Early 17th century). Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
The hanging lantern of hexagonal form, the roof decorated on each side with prominent pierced paulownia crests (kiri mon), surmounted by a pierced knop and loop handle, each center panel decorated with reticulated latticework and chrysathemum crests (kiku mon) and backed with paper, framed above by a border of pierced roundels of paulownia and below by pierced ovals with mythical lions flanked by peonies, two of the panels with hinged doors; all supported on six bracket feet pierced with inome, decorated all over with chrysanthemums and paulownia on a nanako ground, the interior with one wide candle socket; 21¾in. (55.2cm.) high - Estimate $300,000 - $400,000
Literature: Fujimoto Nagakuni, Tsuiki no enkaku (History of metalwork) (Tokyo: Nihon tankin kogeikai, 1966), unnumbered illustration.
Notes: Hexagonal bronze hanging lanterns of large scale made their debut in the Muromachi period. By the Momoyama period, elements such as the roof, openwork design and feet had been standardized.
The panels of the fire chamber have continuous vertical struts but are visually divided into three bands by fittings attached by rivets covered with a chrysanthemum head. The top and bottom bands are narrow, the former decorated with a pierced row of paulownia, the latter with six panels of lions running in various poses and flanked by peonies. Lions appear also in the lower band of the most famous Japanese lantern, the eighth-century octagonal lantern standing in front of the Hall of the Great Buddha at Todaiji in Nara. The largest area of each finely crafted section is the midsection, in which the bronze has been wrought into an openwork lozenge pattern. The openwork grille on each panel of beveled diamond shapes allows the light of a candle--a symbol of the Buddhist light that has been transmitted through the ages--to shine through. At the center of the angular geometry of the openwork grille of each panel is a large sixteen-petal chrysanthemum. Two panels are hinged doors.
The fire chamber rests on a hexagonal platform, and below each corner are two stylized leaf forms that project to serve as functional, handsome legs. The legs are decorated with a design of alternating chrysanthemums and paulownia on a stippled ground with a heart-shaped cutout on each side.
The roof has six projecting fiddlehead ribs. At the center of each of the six roof sections is an opening in paulownia shape. They were cut in order to allow soot and smoke to escape. The lantern is topped by a knob in the form of a wish-granting gem (J. hoju) on an openwork lotus pedestal. The knob is pierced by a large ring. In situ, such lanterns would have been suspended along the walkway or veranda of a temple or shrine.
Few such lanterns have survived and this is an exceptionally important example. All the details are cast with great care and skill, making it one of the finest examples of metalwork from the Momoyama period. Chrysanthemum and paulwonia are associated with Hideyoshi, the Momoyama-period ruler. Hideyoshi constructed a residential palace called Jurakudai ("Palace of pleasures") in the heart of Kyoto in 1587. Here, he entertained the emperor and provided quarters for his teamaster, Sen no Rikyu. The roof tiles of this lavish mansion were covered with gold leaf. The mansion was dismantled in 1595, when Hideyoshi moved to Fushimi castle. The gorgeous lantern shown here might have hung from the eaves of Hideyoshi's Jurakudai mansion.
For a similar lantern dated 1599, see Kyoto National Museum, ed., Tokubetsu tenrankai: Konjiki no kazari--Kinzoku kogei ni miru Nihonbi Kazari in Gold: Japanese Aesthetics Through Metal Works, exh. cat. (Kyoto: Kyoto National Museum, 2003), pl. 177.
The Korean portion of the sale includes both ancient and contemporary pieces. Consigned by a private collector is an eight-panel silk screen commemorating the royal celebration banquet of the 50th birthday of Emperor Gojong, Joseon Dynasty (1901), a hero of Korean nationalism (estimate: $300,000-350,000). The exceptional paintings on the panels illustrate seating arrangement, food, drinks, musical instruments, flowers, costumes, etc. It may be the last example of a Korean royal celebratory banquet (jinyeon) screen ever produced.
Anonymous (Joseon Dynasty, July, 1901) Royal Banquet for the Celebration of the 50th Birthday of the Emperor Gojong. Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
Eight-panel screen; ink and color on silk; 59 x 19 1/8in. (150 x 48.5cm.) each panel - Estimate $300,000 - $350,000
Notes: Emperor Gojong (1852-1919) is a hero of Korean nationalism. He lived during turbulent times and worked tirelessly to promote Korean independence from both China and Japan. The screen celebrating his fiftieth birthday (forty-ninth by Western count) in 1901 marks a moment when he was at the peak of his powers.
Gojong was the twenty-sixth king of the Joseon dynasty, taking the throne as a child. His father ruled for him as regent until 1873. Gojong had an ambitious and brilliant wife, known as Empress Myeongseong or Queen Min (1852-1895), who fought fiercely for Korean independence.
In 1897, Gojong proclaimed the founding of the Empire of Korea, severing Korea's ties with Qing-dynasty China and ending the traditional tributary system. His government was faced with pressure from both Japan and China, however, and with domestic unrest in the form of peasant rebellions. Following a peasant revolt in 1894, Gojong requested military aid from Japan, which gave the Japanese a foothold that they never relinquished. Japan won the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), both fought on the Korean peninsula. A Protectorate Treaty of 1905 stripped Korea of its rights as an independent nation and the Japanese forced Gojong to abdicate. In 1910, Korea was annexed by Japan. Gojong died in confinement in his palace in 1919.
The screen shown here commemorates the royal banquet for the celebration of Gojong's fiftieth birthday. The owner purchased the screen in Korea in the 1960s. It may be the last example of a Korean royal celebratory banquet (jinyeon) screen ever produced. The event, which took place over a period of days in late July, followed set ritual imbued with Confucian ideology. The painting here is accordingly in archaic style prescribed by long-established convention dictating seating arrangement, food, drinks, flowers, musical instruments, costumes and so on. There are a few unusual details, however. The imperial guards standing in the gateway and along the walled enclosure at the bottom of the first and second panels from the right, for example, are in Western military uniforms.
The first and second panels record the Oejinyon, the large public event with government officials, foreign guests and members of the royal clan in Chunghwajon Hall. The emperor's presence is symbolized by the Sun, Moon and Five Peaks screen behind the empty throne. A large white canopy covers the courtyard. The third and fourth panels document a more private banquet, Naejinyon, held for family members at Hamnyongjon Hall. Women participated in this event. The fifth and sixth panels show the night banquet, Yajinyon. Lanterns are strung below the eaves and along the partitions to illuminate the courtyard. The seventh panel shows the small private banquet given by the Crown Prince. The first line of the last panel of this screen bears the name of the temporary royal supervisory office in charge of this banquet. The next eleven lines list the titles and ranks of the eleven officials appointed to the assignment. The inscription also records the date.
Christie’s will also offer over 40 works from The Jerry Lee Musslewhite Collection of Korean Art. The late American collector had a keen appreciation for Korean Art from the early 1960s during his post as Director of the Crafts shop at the U.S. Army military base in Daegu. Musslewhite began acquiring Korean art from nearby antique shops and befriending Buddhist monks at local temples. He continued to collect in 25 years in the country, and quietly assembled one of the largest collections of Joseon Buddhist paintings outside of Korea such as Assembled Deities, 1812, a hanging silk scroll (estimate: $15,000-20,000); Kshitigarbha with the Ten King of Hell, 1775, a framed, ink and gold on silk painting (estimate: $10,000-15,000); and a wonderful eight-panel Scholar’s Accouterments silk screen (chaekgeori) offered with a pair of Korean eyeglasses in horn-rim frames (late 19th century) (estimate: $20,000-30,000).
Yeongun (act. 19th century), Euigwan, Mingwan, Haengjeon, Saseong, Assembled Deities. Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
Dated 1869 and inscribed with temple name Okryeon-am, Mount Hwaak, Gyeongsang-do and with painters' names as above. Painting remounted as a two-panel screen; ink, color and gold on silk; 66 x 59in. (167.7 x 159.8cm.) - Estimate: $15,000-20,000.
Geohun (act. 18th century), Gyeonghwan, Hye..., Jeonggwan, Yeongin, Yeongu, Seonhong, Yeongsu, Kshitigarbha with the Ten Kings of Hell, 1775. Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
Dated 1775 and inscribed with temple location Chungcheong-do, Jincheon-hyeon, Mount Duta and with painters' names as above; 4nk, color and gold on silk, framed; 57 x 70in. (145 x 178cm.) - Estimate $10,000 - $15,000
Notes: The bodhisattva Kshitigarbha (Jijang in Korean) is the deity of the afterlife who redeems souls suffering in hell into the Pure Land of the Buddha Amitabha (Amita). The Ten Kings of Hell, shown here surrounded by their assistants and officials, judge whether the soul of a deceased is to be consigned to a hot or cold hell or to be reborn as a deity, human being, animal, demon or hungry ghost.
This painting was commissioned to hang in a monastery's Hall of the Underworld (Myeongbu-jeon) to accrue merit for the donor.
Anonymous (late 19th century), Scholar's accoutrements (Chaekgeori). Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
Eight-panel screen mounted as a four-panel screen and two two-panel screens; ink and color on silk; 22 x 15¾in. (56 x 40cm.) each panel. Offered with a pair of Korean eyeglasses in horn-rim frames (4) - Estimate $20,000 - $30,000
Notes: In this trompe l'oeil still-life painting, we open a door onto a Confucian scholar's study. But what a study! His collection is an astonishing mélange of books, fruit (juicy black grapes, ripe watermelon, pomegranates, citrons) and vegetables (eggplants). The top of the watermelon is sliced off to reveal many seeds inside, a bit of Daoist symbolism suggesting that the screen's owner sire many children. There are many luxury goods associated with the life of a gentleman. We see Chinese-style rocks--one with blossoming peonies--paintings--one ink landscape hanging on the wall and others rolled up--and a magnificent branch of flowering plum. Writing paraphernalia include writing brushes, envelopes, rolled scrolls of paper, a water dropper, stone seals, inksticks and inkstones, not to mention two pairs of reading glasses. The third panel from the right shown above is inscribed in a cartouche Mun bang sa u (four scholar's objects). The far left panel above shows an inkstick inscribed eo yak yong mun (turning into a dragon). A poetic phrase for "autumn moon" (dong jeong chu wol) is worked into the imagery on an inkstick shown in the sixth panel from the right above. There are porcelain vases and teapots, ritual bronzes, gnarled wood containers, several glass vases with coral and one with a lotus, a candle, stacks of porcelain dishes and teacups. The frog and a pair of birds on a swing: are they real? Perhaps we have a puzzle for the viewer to solve.
The Chinese-style books on screens of this type are usually depicted closed, stacked in sets wrapped in slipcases. Joseon-dynasty scholars sat on thin cushions on the floor and worked at small, portable desks. Chaekgeori is a Confucian theme, directly related to the scholarly aspiration of the landed gentry, the scholar-officials of the Joseon-dynasty government. Yet, bookstack screens were popular in the homes of commoners, as well, symbolizing the Confucian ideals of education and self-improvement, and perhaps providing inspiration to the family's children. There is literary evidence that this subject became a status symbol after King Jeongjo (r. 1776-1800) placed one behind his desk in the men's quarters of the palace.
For a full discussion of Chaekgeori screens, see Kay E. Black and Edward W. Wagner, "Court style Ch'aekkori," in Hopes and Aspirations: Decorative Paintings of Korea, exh. cat. (San Francisco: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1998), 21-35; also Black and Wagner, "Ch'aekkori Paintings: A Korean Jigsaw Puzzle," Archives of Asian Art 46 (1993): 63-75.
Leading the strong selection of porcelains offered in the sale is a large blue and white porcelain water dropper in the form of a mythical lion (Haetae), Joseon Dynasty (19th century) (estimate: $300,000-350,000). Modeled as a seated lion supporting a large double-gourd bottle balanced on a tasseled saddle, the vessel is an elegant example of Korean artistic mastery.
A Large Blue and White Porcelain Water Dropper in the form of a Mythical Lion (Haetae). Joseon dynasty (19th century). Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
Modelled as a seated lion supporting a large double-gourd bottle balanced on a tasseled saddle, the lion's mane, eye pupils, beard and tail accented by lines and dabs of underglaze blue as well as blue decorative florets and cord of the neck bell, the base of the double-gourd flask moulded with a band of lappets picked out in underglaze blue; the vessel also applied with a glossy, clear glaze; flat base unglazed; 6½ x 6¼ x 5 1/8in. (16.4 x 15.8 x 13cm.) - Estimate $300,000 - $350,000
Notes: The long history of Korean ceramics includes a tradition of whimsical, humorous animal sculptures. In the Koryo dynasty, celadon waterdroppers were modeled in the shape of ducks, monkeys, fish-dragons and dragon-headed tortoises. A Chinese scholar who visited Korea in the twelfth century went out of his way to comment on a celadon incense burner with a charming lion perched on its cover.
For a large water dropper from the Joseon dynasty in the National Museum of Korea, Seoul, shaped as a tortoise with a dragon's head carrying a gourd-shaped bottle on its back, see Choi Sunu, National Museum of Korea, Seoul, vol. 2 of The World's Great Collections: Oriental Ceramics (Tokyo, New York and San Francisco: Kodansha International Ltd., 1982), fig. 284.
The sale also features contemporary art, including Kim Tchah-sup’s (b.1940) Hands, 2009 (estimate: $60,000 – 80,000) and Untitled #2, 1963, a colorful painting executed in gouache on paper, by Kim Whanki (estimate $30,000 – 40,000), an important Korean artist of the 20th century with unique blend of Eastern and Western sensibilities.
Kim Tchah-sup (B. 1940), Hands, 2009. Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
Signed and dated Tchah Sup Kim 2009. Oil on canvas, framed; 24 x 24in. (61 x 61cm.) - Estimate $60,000 - $80,000
Notes: The artist was born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. His family moved to Gyeongju, Korea, in 1944. He graduated from Seoul National University in 1963 and received his MFA from Pratt Institute in 1976 under a John D. Rockefeller 3rd Fund Fellowship. He spent sixteen years in the United States. When Kim returned to Korea in 1990, he chose to live in isolation in the Gangwon region, far from Seoul and its art scene. Recent works include maps and the globe. They reveal his strong attachment to the south as the ideal direction. On his personal compass, south is at the top. He subverts the Western point of view and sees the equestrian nomads who first migrated toward Korea as the center of the world.
Kim Tchah-Sup (B. 1940), Cornucopia, 2009. Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010
Signed and dated Tchah Sup Kim 09. Oil on canvas, framed, 24 x 24in. (61 x 61cm.) - Estimate $60,000 - $80,000
Notes: Kim had one-person exhibitions at the Associated American Artists Gallery, New York, in 1977; the Space Gallery, Seoul, in 1979 and 1984; the Iteza Gallery, Kyoto, in 1986; Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, in 1993; Marronnier Art Center, Korean Culture and Arts Foundation, Seoul, in 2002; and in the "Lee Joongsub Award Show" at the Choson Il-bo Museum, Seoul, in 2003. His work was exhibited in "Acquisitions '73-'76," the Museum of Modern Art, New York; in "Thirty Years of American Printmaking," the Brooklyn Museum, in 1974; and "Six Artists from Korea," Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, in 1995. His work was exhibited at the Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York, in 2009. Kim's work is in the collections of the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Kwachon, Korea, the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Brooklyn Museum and the Cincinnati Art Museum, among others.