LONDON.- Following the record breaking results of Asian Art Week at Christie’s New York in March (15-21), which saw 10 sales including The Collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth achieve the highest total for Asian Art Week in New York ($161,142,063/ £99,908,079/€148,250,697), Christie’s announced details of the Chinese and Japanese auctions and exhibition of touring highlights in London in May. At Christie’s headquarters, 8 King Street, there are two auctions on 11 May: a single owner sale of Chinese ceramics and works of art Appreciating Elegance: Art from the Sui Yuan Zhai Collection and a single owner Japanese collection European Courts Encounter Japan. The two-day South Kensington sale of Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles will take place on 12 and 15 May. Touring international highlights of Asian Art from the upcoming auctions in Hong Kong (3 June) and Paris (9 June) will be on public view in London from 7 to 10 May.
Appreciating Elegance: Art from the Sui Yuan Zhai Collection. Christie’s King Street, 11 May at 2pm
A beautiful selection of 39 pieces of Chinese porcelain, jades and glass from the private Sui Yuan Zhai collection will be offered at Christie’s on 11 May. The collection showcases a dynamic range of items dating from the Ming period (1368-1644) through to the 20th century. These include classical blue and white vessels, exquisite famille rose and monochrome porcelain, as well as superb jade carvings including intricate examples for the scholar’s table. The collection is expected to realise in excess of £2 million.
European Courts Encounter Japan, Christie’s King Street 11 May at 3pm
A single owner sale, European Courts Encounter Japan presents 16 lots from the collection of Sakamoto Goro (b.1923); estimates range from £5,000 up to £800,000. An inspiring figure, Sakamoto determinedly forged his way in the art world, establishing himself as a dealer in Tokyo in the Post War years having sought the advice and guidance of many revered dealers, including close friends such as Ishiguro Kojiro who owned ‘the Mikazuki Gallery’, an antiques shop which specialised in Western objects. Highly regarded throughout the Asian art trade, and by collectors and museum curators worldwide, Sakamoto attended international auctions until recently and is known for competing fiercely for works that he set his sight on. Sakamoto closed Fugendo in 1989 and now lives in retirement, enjoying his collection.
Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles , Christie’s South Kensington, 12 & 15 May at 10am
Christie’s South Kensington’s two-day sale of Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles on 12 and 15 May comprises 584 lots (day 1: lots 100-440; day 2: lots 500-742). Featuring a number of significant private collections, this carefully-curated auction offers works of art across a wide range of media including porcelain, jade carvings, glass, bronzes, Buddhist art, cloisonné enamel, furniture, paintings, textiles and scholar’s objects that span over two thousand years of Chinese art from the Neolithic period to the early 20th century. Estimates range from £1,000 to £60,000.
Appreciating Elegance: Art from the Sui Yuan Zhai Collection. Christie’s King Street, 11 May at 2pm
Mr. Henry Wong and Mrs. Shirley Wong (nee Conway).
The Sui Yuan Zhai Collection has been amassed with great care over the past decade by a couple based in Hong Kong, who have exhibited an enthusiastic and evolving interest in the Chinese decorative arts, with a special interest in Imperial works of art from the Ming and Qing dynasties, chosen for their fine quality, rarity, beauty and historical significance. Both came from prominent families who had a keen interest in Chinese art, and thus an appreciation of colour, form and historical importance was instilled at an early age. The collection has been formed with advice and guidance from curators, specialists and respected dealers in the field, the majority of the pieces being purchased from international auction houses and reputable dealers.
The majority of the ceramics in the Sui Yuan Zhai Collection date to the Qing dynasty, whilst there are also significant pieces dating to the preceding Ming dynasty and the succeeding Republican period. Leading the collection is a large Qianlong period (1736-1795) gang bowl which is painted with particular delicacy using the famille rose enamel palette (estimate: £200,000-300,000). The Qianlong Emperor’s appreciation of overglaze-enamelled porcelain, such as the present vessel, is well-recorded. No other bowl of this exact type is published. This exceptionally rare and magnificent bowl highlights the ceramic decorator’s skill in devising large, wonderfully exotic, blooms which are scattered over the sides of the vessel and are punctuated by smaller four-petalled blossoms in iron red and blue. The style of painting used for the larger flowers makes particularly good use of the opaque white enamel which was developed as part of the famille rose or fencai palette. This opaque white allowed the ceramic decorator to create delicate pastel shades by mixing the white with other colours, such as the colloidal gold pink, which gives famille rose its name. Two other important enamel colours, which were significant additions to the famille rose palette also contribute greatly to the beauty of the painting on this vessel: the pure opaque yellow and clear purple.
Lot 35. A rare and magnificent large famille rose ‘Lotus’ bowl, gang, Qianlong period (1736-1795). Estimate £200,000-300,000 ($300,000-440,000) (€280,000-420,000). Price realised GBP 242,500. © Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The powerfully potted vessel is exquisitely decorated to the exterior with large colourful lotus flowers amidst smaller flowers and leafy scrolls, all set between a lotus-lappet band encircling the base and a ruyi-border below the gilt mouth rim. The interior and the recessed base are glazed in turquoise. 15 ¾ in. (40 cm.) diam.
Provenance: A private English collection.
Sotheby's London, 13 May 2009, lot 205.
Notes: Apart from its impressive size and high quality of enamelling, the current large bowl is also remarkable for its rarity, as no other bowl of this exact type seems to be published. The Qianlong Emperor's appreciation of overglaze-enamelled porcelain, such as the present vessel, is well-recorded.
For an example with a similar shape to the current lot, described as an alms-bowl-shaped urn, see a light greenish-blue-glazed vessel in the Qing Court collection in Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Monochrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 135.
A pair of famille rose floral double moon flask vases from the Republic period (1912-1949) (estimate: £25,000 – £35,000) boast not only a rare shape and the very rare mark of Jing yuan tang, but also fascinating provenance, having been previously owned by the Empress Dowager of Japan, who had the posthumous title HIM Empress Teimei (1884-1951). Following her death the vases were gifted by her son, Emperor Showa (r. 1926-89), to Chief Administrator Morimoto on 1 October 1951. There appears to be only one other published example of a porcelain double moon flask form, in the collection of the National Palace Museum Taipei.
Lot 36. A fine and rare pair of famille rose floral double vases, Jing Yuan Tang Zhi seal marks in iron-red, Republic period (1912-1949). Estimate £25,000 -35,000 ($37,000-52,000) (€35,000-49,000). Price realised GBP 62,500. © Christie's Image Ltd 2015
Each conjoined vase is delicately enamelled to the body with colourful flowers, rocks, butterflies and other insects. The narrow sides, neck and foot are decorated in blue enamel with further floral sprays and stylised leafy scrolls, below a band of tassels below the mouth. 5 ¾ in. (14.5 cm.) high
Provenance: Gifted by Showa Emperor (1901-1989) to Chief Administrator Mr. Moritomo on the 1st of October 1951, following the death of Empress Teimei (1884-1951), the mother of Showa Emperor.
Christie's London, 7 November 2006, lot 247.
Further notable famille rose highlights include an impressive finely painted turquoise-ground ‘lotus’ ovoid jar and cover, Daoguang six character seal mark in iron-red and of the period (1821-1850), elaborately enamelled to the exterior with colourful lotus flowers supporting the sanduo, the Three Abundances surrounded by leafy scrolls, gilt doublexi characters for ‘double-happiness’, bats and peaches (estimate:£40,000 - 60,000).
Lot 37. An impressive finely painted famille rose turquoise-ground 'Lotus' ovoid jar and cover, Daoguang six-character seal mark in iron-red and of the period (1821-1850). Estimate £40,000-60,000 ($59,000-89,000) (€56,000-83,000). Price realised GBP 68,500. © Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The jar is elaborately enamelled to the exterior with colourful lotus flowers supporting the sanduo, the Three Abundances, comprising pomegranate, peach and finger citron, surrounded by leafy scrolls, gilt double-xi characters for 'double-happiness', bats and peaches. The domed cover is similarly decorated, surmounted by a gilt finial shaped as a lotus bud. The interior and base are turquoise-enamelled. 11 5/8 in. (29.6 cm.) high
Provenance: From the collection of the Scottish Clan Donnachaidh, also known as Clan Robertson.
Christie's London, 7 November 2006, lot 232.
Notes: Famille rose jars of this type belong to a group of porcelain which imitate cloisonné enamel. The gilt-wire outlines, vibrant turquoise-ground and stylised floral designs, which are characteristic of cloisonné enamel, are transferred with great exactitude onto porcelain. Compare the present lot to a similar jar and cover sold at Christie's Los Angeles, 13 April 2000, lot 134.
A very rare underglaze-blue and overglaze iron-red-decorated ‘phoenix’ moon flask, baoyueping, Qianlong period (1736-1795) is an excellent example of impressive technical expertise, exhibiting skilful potting and elaborate decoration (estimate £120,000 - 200,000). The contrast between the areas decorated in soft underglaze cobalt blue and those painted in delicate, but vibrant, overglaze iron red enamel is extremely effective. The shading and fine details on the iron red flowers and birds’ feathers display the great skill of the painter. This flask was formerly in the collection of Major the Hon. Robert Carnegie (1869-1947), passing by descent and later acquired by the present owner at Christie’s Paris in 2006.
Lot 15. A very rare underglaze-blue and iron-red-decorated 'Phoenix' moon flask, baoyueping, Qianlong period (1736-1795). Estimate £120,000-200,000 ($180,000-300,000) (€170,000-280,000). Price realised GBP 146,500. © Christie's Image Ltd 2015
Each side of the vase is decorated with two large confronting phoenix with a flaming pearl and a peony bloom between them, all surrounded by iron-red floral blooms borne on scrolling foliage painted in underglaze blue. The shoulders and neck are applied with two stylised elephant-head handles. 8 5/8 in. (21.8 cm.) high
Provenance: The collection of Major the Hon. Robert Carnegie (1869-1947), and thence by descent within the family.
Christie's Paris, 22 November 2006, lot 326.
Notes: The current moon flask is impressive for its skillful potting and elaborate decoration. Such flasks usually bear a Qianlong mark to the base. The base of the present vase has been ground down, and it is highly possible that it originally had a Qianlong mark. Compare this to a moon flask with underglaze-blue and pink enamels and decorated with phoenixes, illustrated in Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol.15, pl. 92 and 93, from the Matsuoka Museum of Art, Tokyo. Also see a similar flask with a Qianlong mark, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 25 November 1987, lot 189. The design of phoenix, lotus and peonies decorated in underglaze-blue and iron-red can also be seen on square baluster vases from the Qianlong period, also bearing a Qianlong reign mark; two examples are illustrated in Soame Jenyns, Later Chinese Porcelain, London, 1971, pl. LXXXVI.
A large and impressive doucai dragon and phoenix bottle vase is a rare example of the bold decoration in this style used in the Qing period (estimate £120,000 - 180,000). This remarkable vase shares decorative features with a large doucai lidded meiping from the Qing Court collection preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing.
Lot 32. A large and impressive doucai 'Dragon and Phoenix' bottle vase, Qianlong period (1736-1795). Estimate £120,000-180,000 ($180,000-270,000) (€170,000-250,000). Price realised GBP 140,500. © Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The vessel is boldy decorated to the exterior with a colourful five-clawed dragon and a phoenix amidst a spreading branch of tree peony that extends to the tall neck, all set between a band of petal lappets encircling the foot and a band of classic scroll around the rim where a rectangular panel encloses an apocryphal six-character Jiajing mark in a horizontal line. 25½ in. (63.5 cm.) high
Provenance: Sotheby's Hong Kong, 19 November 1986, lot 306.
With Ashkenazi & Co., San Francisco.
Christie's New York, 19 September 2007, lot 333.
Exquisite monochromes are led by the cover lot, a very rare and magnificent flambé-glazed bottle vase from the Yongzheng reign (1723-1735), which owes its development to imperial enthusiasm for new ceramic glaze colours, combined with the skills of an exceptional kiln director (estimate £150,000 - 250,000). The form is very unusual and may be based on an earlier prototype such as a holy water bottle. Porcelain vessels of this shape are known from the Yongle period onwards. The rich glaze on this vase emulates the celebrated Jun ware glaze from the Song period. A vase decorated with a similarly rich flambé glaze, with the same type of Yongzheng mark, is in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Lot 8. A very rare and magnificent flambé-glazed bottle vase, Yongzheng impressed four-character seal mark and of the period (1723-1735). Estimate £150,000-250,000 ($230,000-370,000) (€210,000-350,000). Price realised GBP 434,500 © Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The elegantly potted vase has a baluster body rising to a ribbed cylindrical neck and dished mouth, raised on a domed base. The exterior is decorated with a thick purple glaze infused with red and lavender streaks, thinning to a finely-crackled mushroom colour around the mouth rim. The glaze also covers the interior of the mouth, displaying rich shades of blue and purple. The biscuit base has celadon splashes around the impressed mark. 10 5/8 in. (27 cm.) high
Provenance: Christie's London, 15 May 2007, lot 254.
Note: The form of the current vase is very unusual and may be based on an earlier prototype such as a holy water bottle. Porcelain vessels of this shape are known from the Yongle period onwards. See a fragmentary holy water jar measuring 27 cm. high, excavated from the Yongle-period strata at Zhushan, cf. Ceramic Finds from Jingdezhen Kilns, Hong Kong, 1992, fig. 201. Another similar example dated to the Xuande period, with a broadly tapering body and splayed foot, decorated with flower-sprays and petal bands, is illustrated in Zhongguo Taoci Quanji, The Great Treasury of Chinese Ceramics, vol. 19, Shanghai, 1983, fig. 12. It appears that this shape was revived during the Yongzheng period when archaism was favoured at the Imperial court, with earlier ceramics and bronzes readily available in Beijing as models for potters responding to the taste for the antique. A Yongzheng-marked vase of closely related shape to the current lot, with a crackled glaze imitating Guan ware, is illustrated by J. Ayers in The Baur Collection, vol. III, Geneva, 1969, no. A348, which the author suggests may be imitating an earlier Song or Ming bronze type.
The rich glaze on this vase emulates the celebrated Jun ware glaze from the Song period. For a discussion of this type of glaze layered with streaks and splashes, known as yao bian, or 'transmutation glaze', see Rose Kerr, 'Jun Wares and their Qing dynasty Imitation at Jingdezhen', in Rosemary Scott (ed.) The Porcelains of Jingdezhen, Colloquies on Art & Archaeology in Asia No. 16, London, 1993, p. 151-164; and Nigel Wood, 'The Evolution of the Chinese Copper Red' in Rosemary Scott (ed.) Chinese Copper Red Wares, London, 1992, pp. 29-30. Rose Kerr notes that Lan Pu in theJingdezhen tao lu, which was mostly written during the latter years of the Qianlong reign, suggests that the 18th century wares produced in Jingdezhen are superior to the wares of the Song and Yuan dynasties. He writes: 'Jun ware red pieces that the ancients made were composed of rough, coarse-grained clay tinged with yellow, and though the glaze colour is lively they are not fine pieces. today, Jingdezhen selects clean, fine, white clay to mould the body, and then applies red glaze. in this way the red colour has a much richer appearance.'
A vase decorated with a similarly rich flambé glaze, with the same type of Yongzheng mark, is in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum – 37 –Monochrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 198, pl. 179. An almost identical vase to the present lot was included in an exhibition held by the Art Museum at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, illustrated in Shimmering Colours: Monochromes of the Yuan to Qing Periods, The Zhuyuetang Collection, Hong Kong, 2005, front cover & p. 256, pl. 176, Also compare a vase of similar shape and colour from the Robert Chang Collection and formerly in the Winkworth Collection, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 2 November 1999, lot 512.
Further important monochromes include a rare ruby-enamelled quadrilobed bowl, from the same period (estimate: £80,000-120,000). This bowl was previously in the Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York.
A rare ruby-enamelled quadrilobed bowl, Yongzheng six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period (1723-1735). Estimate £80,000-120,000 ($120,000-180,000) (€120,000-170,000). Unsold © Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The delicately potted bowl has deep walls shaped as four floral petals, with the exterior covered with a vibrant ruby-pink enamel, in stark contrast to the white interior. 7½ in. (19 cm.) diam., wood stand
Provenance: Christie's New York, 19 September 2007, lot 339.
Previously in the collection of Emily Trevor (d. 1943), New York.
With Duveen Brothers, New York, March 1915.
Previously in the Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York.
Note: A bowl decorated with a similar ruby enamel, but with a different shape, was included in An Exhibition of Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, Christie's, London, June 1993, no. 40. Also compare the present lot to a bowl with a similar shape but of a smaller size (14 cm. diam.), covered with a yellowish-green enamel, illustrated by J. Ayers, The Baur Collection, Chinese Ceramics, vol. III, Geneva, 1972, no. A 501. See also, an example of the same shape and size as the present bowl, decorated in pink enamel, sold at Sotheby's, London, 13 November 2002, lot 147. There is another almost identical example in the Tianminlou collection, illustrated in Chinese Porcelain: The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Part II, Hong Kong, 1987, p. 205, no. 125.
The jades in the collection include fine examples in different styles and colours, from white to celadon, spinach green and yellow. One of the rarest and most sought-after jade colours is that of an elegant twin-handled Qianlong period vase which is of a soft yellow tone (estimate: £150,000 – £250,000). This particular yellow is often referred to by Chinese connoisseurs as qiukui, the colour of mallow flowers in the autumn. The main body of the vase has been left undecorated to allow better appreciation of the stone, while the handles are carved in the archaistic form popular at the time.
A rare and finely carved yellow jade twin-handled vase, Qianlong period (1736-1795). Estimate £150,000 – £250,000 ($230,000-370,000) (€210,000-350,000). Unsold. © Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The square-sectioned vessel is well-hollowed and elegantly carved with archaistic handles shaped as phoenixes to the sides of the slightly waisted neck, above a stepped shoulder and raised on a spreading foot. The stone is of an attractive yellowish-green tone with some minor darker and lighter inclusions. 5 ¾ in. (14.6 cm.) high
Provenance: Christie's Hong Kong, 17 May 1988, lot 555.
Christie's Hong Kong, 28 April 1996, lot 693.
Christie's London, 15 May 2007, lot 374.
Notes: The lustrous yellow colour seen on the current jade vase is referred to as the colour of mallow flowers in the autumn season, qiukui, by Chinese connoisseurs. An example of an 'autumn mallow'-coloured jade carving is provided by the finger citron dated to the Qing Dynasty in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures from the Palace Museum - Jade (III), Hong Kong, 1995, p. 64, no. 52.
Compare the archaistic phoenix handles on the present lot to the archaistic dragon handles on an agate vase in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Zhongguo yuqi quanji - 6 - Qing, Hebei, 1991, p. 148, no. 225. Also see a yellow jade vase from the G. Bloch Collection, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 23 October 2005, lot 73; and another at Sotheby's New York, 19 March 2007, lot 30.
A superb finely carved and inscribed Imperial pale celadon jade rectangular table screen Qianlong period (1736-1795) displays a particularly beautiful carving of Laozi riding a water buffalo through mountainous terrain and being greeted from the far side of a bridge by an official (estimate: £120,000 -180,000).
Lot 18. A superb finely carved and inscribed Imperial pale celadon jade rectangular table screen, Qianlong period (1736-1795). Estimate £120,000 -180,000 ($180,000-270,000) (€170,000-250,000). Price realised GBP 140,500. © Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The screen is intricately carved to one side with a mountainous landscape scene featuring tall pine trees and pavilions, depicting Laozi leaving the border of the Chinese empire on a buffalo, crossing a bridge accompanied by a boy attendant carrying scrolls, with an official awaiting his arrival on the opposite side of the river. A long poetic inscription eulogising this scene is carved and gilt to the top of the screen, followed by the seals qian and long. The reverse is inscribed and gilt with another long inscription similarly describing the event. The stone is of a pale tone with very minor russet inclusions. The probably later spinach green jade stand is elaborately decorated with archaistic dragons and stylised scrolls, and the stone is of a rich spinach-green tone with darker flecks. 9 ½ in. (24 cm.) high with stand
Provenance: The collection of Warren E. Cox (1895-1977), New York.
The Concordia House Collection: Fine Chinese Jades and Important Works of Art from a Midwestern Family; Sotheby's New York, 19 March 2007, lot 45.
Literature: Charles Stanley Nott, A Catalogue of Chinese Jade Carvings, Palm Beach, 1940, cat.no. 48, pp. 46-47.
Notes: The scene depicted on the current screen is derived from a famous tale in Daoism, known as 'Laozi chu guan tu', describing Laozi leaving the border of the Chinese empire as he became weary of the morally corrupt Zhou court and chose to adopt the life of a recluse. The long inscription to the reverse of the screen is read as ‘Lao wu tu ke ci Laozi chu guan tu zao ru hou qu shi you ji xiang yun fu zhi xun hu yi lin bao ji dang you shen wu hu chi bu ke si yi er/Xushen meng xiang yu zhi/Chen Donghao feng chi jing shu’, and may be translated as ‘The painting depicting the story of Laozi leaving the border of China is recorded in the Shi Qu Bao Ji. When Laozi embarked on his journey, it was miraculous that auspicious clouds covered the sky and mythical creatures protected him through the forest. Imperially written during summertime in the cyclical year of Xushen (1788) by the official Donghao in accordance with the emperor’s orders’.
Apart from its significance in Daoism, the present lot is also remarkable for the intricacy of its carving, especially notable in the facial features of the figures depicted. Compare this to a jade table screen of a similar size, carved with the Nine Elders of Xiangshan, illustrated in The Splendour of Jade: the Songzhutang Collection of Jade, Hong Kong 2011, pl. 140. A similar white jade screen is illustrated in The Refined Taste of the Emperor: Special Exhibition of Archaic and Pictorial Jades of the Ch'ing Court, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1997, cat. no. 71. Another example is illustrated in A Romance with Jade from the De An Tang Collection, Hong Kong, 2004, no. 45. Also see an imperially inscribed circular white jade table screen and stand, sold at Christie's London, 12 July 2005, lot 70.
Treasures for ‘the Scholars table’ include a small rare famille rose-enamelled glass miniature vase, Qianlong four-character seal mark and of the period (1736-1795) (estimate £20,000 - 30,000). It is possible to compare miniature enamelled glass vases such as the present lot to similarly decorated snuff bottles produced in the same period. The vase is enamelled to the exterior with an official holding a sceptre and accompanied by an attendant, beside three scholars standing below a large pine tree. Shoulao is depicted flying on a crane above a pavilion.
Lot 3. A ruby-red glass baluster vase, Qianlong incised four-character mark within a square and of the period (1736-1795). Estimate £20,000 - 30,000 ($30,000-44,000) (€28,000-42,000). Price realised GBP 10,000 © Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The bulbous body of the vase rises to a waisted neck and a flaring mouth rim, supported on a short foot. The exterior is decorated with a continuous scene of warriors in battle amidst tall pine trees. The semi-translucent glass is of an even dark red colour throughout. 6 ½ in. (16.5 cm.) high
Provenance: Christie's London, 5 November 2013, lot 389.
Note: Compare the present lot to examples of ruby-red glass vessels from the Shorenstein Collection, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 1 December 2010, lots 2928 & 2943.
A rare celadon and russet jade carving of Zhou Yanzi, Ming dynasty (17th century), bears a morally didactic message, eulogising the importance of filial piety by depicting a character from a Chinese folk tale (estimate: £15,000 – £25,000). According to this story, a boy named Zhou Yanzi wears a deer skin in order to join a deer herd and obtain milk from a deer to cure his father’s illness. The russet area of the stone is cleverly utilised to highlight the deer skin, with the celadon section depicting the figure. Further works from this collection are offered in the two day South Kensington sale on 12 and 15 May.
Lot 20. A rare celadon and russet jade carving of Zhou Yanzi, Ming dynasty, 17th century. Estimate £15,000 – £25,000 ($22,605 -37,675) (€21,000-35,000). Price realised GBP 18,750. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 201
The stone is carved in the form of a boy crawling on all fours and covered in a deer skin which is finely detailed with incised swirling patterns. The russet area of the stone is cleverly utilised to highlight the deer skin, with the celadon section depicting the figure. 2 ¾ in. (7 cm.) long
Provenance: Sotheby's Paris, 14 June 2007, lot 110.
Notes: The current jade carving bears a morally didactic message, as it eulogises the importance of filial piety by depicting a character from a Chinese folk tale. According to this story, a boy named Zhou Yanzi wears a deer skin in order to join a deer herd and obtain milk from a deer to cure his father's illness.
Compare the present lot to a related figure of Zhou Yanzi illustrated in Post-Archaic Chinese Jades from Private Collections, S. Marchant and Son, London, 2000, cat. no. 23; and another sold at Sotheby's London, 7 December 1993, lot 92. Also see a similar carving depicting Zhou Yanzi wearing a deer skin but also holding a bucket for milk, sold at Sotheby's New York, 31 March 2005, lot 57.
European Courts Encounter Japan, Christie’s King Street 11 May at 3pm
Revered dealer Sakamoto Goro travelled the world in search of treasures - from Cairo to Brooklyn. Sakamoto opened his first shop in Tokyo in 1947, retiring in 1978. From his Fugendo Gallery he sold Japanese, Korean and Chinese art to museums, dealers and collectors around the world.
The star of the 16 lots from the Sakamoto Goro collection is an important Edo period (17th century) Nanban six-fold screen executed in ink, colour and gold leaf on paper, depicting the arrival of a Portuguese ship for trade (estimate: £500,000-800,000). This screen was the catalogue cover image for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition ‘Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800’, September to December 2004. This screen is an exceptional example which stands out for the liveliness and originality of the scene and its execution. It is in fine condition and features the gold leaf and jewel-like colours of costly ground malachite and azurite that signal the work of a master. This screen is also unusual because of its depiction of a fortified daimyo mansion and for its rather compact size. In recent research by Mitsuru Sakamoto, it has been suggested that this screen was made as a single screen, not as a pair.
The Nanban (Southern ‘Barbarians’) was the term adopted from China by the Japanese in the 16th century to describe foreigners who arrived in Japan from the South. The screen depicts a three-masted ship unloading cargo in a port that likely represents Nagasaki, on the west coast of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four main islands of Japan. The scene presents a narrative of the dynamic conflation of East and West around 1600. Portuguese traders reached Japan in 1543, and by 1570 they had selected the Bay of Nagasaki as the ideal natural harbour for the centre of their commerce, which was conducted with little or no restriction. The artist’s focus is in the trade in luxury goods and exotica between Japanese and Portuguese. Foreign commerce, notably the silk trade, was supported by the Japanese military leaders and the Portuguese made big profits exchanging Chinese silk for Japanese silver. The earliest screen of this type is thought to date from the 1590s and is attributed to Kano Mitsunobu (1561/5–1608), who was called from Kyoto to decorate Hideyoshi’s Nagoya Castle in northern Kyushu. The fashion for Nanban screens continued into the second quarter of the 17th century.
An important Nanban six-fold screen depicting the arrival of a Portuguese ship for trade, Edo period, 17th century. Estimate £500,000-800,000 ($22,605 -37,675) (€21,000-35,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
Ink, colour and gold leaf on paper; 122 x 373 cm.
Literature: Anna Jackson, Amin Jaffer ed., Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800, Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2004), front and back covers, p. 202-204, pl. 16.1
Mitsuru Sakamoto et al., Nanban byobu shusei [A Catalogue Raisonné of the Nanban Screens] (Tokyo, 2008), p. 286, 287, 381, no. 89
Exhibited: Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 23 September - 5 December 2004
Notes: Southern Barbarians Come to Trade
A three-masted ship unloads cargo in a port that likely represents Nagasaki, on the west coast of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four main islands of Japan. The scene presents a narrative of the dynamic conflation of East and West around 1600. Portuguese traders reached Japan in 1543, and by 1570 they had selected the Bay of Nagasaki as the ideal natural harbour for the centre of their commerce, which was conducted with little or no restriction. The Portuguese nau do trato was known to the Japanese as the kurofune (black ship) or nanban bune, ship of the Nanban, or Southern Barbarians, so called because these foreigners arrive from the south. (The term originated in China, where all foreigners were regarded as barbarians.)
The Portuguese made large profits selling Chinese silk to the Japanese in exchange for silver. Some European goods were traded, but for the most part the Iberians served as middlemen between the Chinese and Japanese. The great ship was a three-deck carrack of up to 1,600 tons, and its enormous size and exotic crew and cargo were the cause of much wonder and excitement. The carrack set off for Macau and Japan from Goa, on the west coast of India, the centre of the Portuguese empire in Asia, and some of the crew are dark-skinned natives of the Indian sub-continent.
Jesuit missionaries accompanied the Portuguese traders and spread Christianity in Japan, especially in Kyushu, where there were many converts among the local daimyo. Francis Xavier, one of the founding fathers of the Jesuit Order, was the first to arrive, in 1549. Until 1624, there was also a small trade between the Japanese and the Spanish, who were based in the Philippine Islands. Spanish ships sailed every summer from Manila to Mexico on the Black Current and a few entered Japanese ports. A handful of Spanish Franciscan friars propagated their faith in Nagasaki, Kyoto, and elsewhere.
In 1638, an uprising by Christian converts convinced the Tokugawa government of the dreaded possibility of intervention by European colonial powers. In 1639, the Portuguese were expelled. All sixty members of the Portuguese delegation that arrived the following year to plead for resumption of trade were beheaded. In 1640, the shogun put into effect a seclusionist policy that closed the country to all outsiders other than Chinese merchants, a handful of Dutch traders, and occasional Korean emissaries. By 1650, Christian imagery was banned and missionary activity a capital offense.
Arrival in Nagasaki
The immense height of the central mast of this carrack is suggested by the rapidly diminishing size of the crew members furling its sails. The crew is shown performing alarming acrobatic feats in the rigging. The European captain-major is seated on a thronelike Chinese-style chair beneath a Chinese canopy. Around him are merchants and Jesuits missionaries, their flags with Christian emblems fluttering in the breeze. Backgammon players are enjoying some fun on the poop deck. Cargo and passengers are offloaded into small boats that pull alongside the ship. Admiring Japanese would have been shocked by the words of an experienced European traveller that the great ships are filthy and stink.
On the third panel from the right, the captain-major, having been ferried ashore, parades towards the centre of town. A servant holds an enormous cloth parasol over his head. He approaches a welcoming committee of Japanese officials and Portuguese Jesuits wearing long black cassocks; a few Spanish priests (Franciscan and Dominican) accompany the group. During the brief period when Japan was open to the West, Nagasaki was the seat of the Society of Jesus.
The artist exaggerates the height of the foreigners and emphasizes the balloon-like bagginess of their bombacha pantaloons, but focuses also on distinctive details such as heavy gold necklaces, facial hair, hats, capes, frilly white handkerchiefs and ruffled collars. The traders have brought wonderful animals, notably a cage with peacocks and a magnificent tiger skin. On one such occasion, they even brought an elephant, named Don Pedro. It was presented to the ruler of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536–1598), by the Spanish envoy in the summer of 1597. We know that Hideyoshi surrounded himself with imported exotica, a reflection of his infatuation with all things foreign, most especially with high-end luxury goods. It should also be mentioned, however, that in 1597 he ordered the execution of twenty-six Christians, including six foreigners—one of them a Mexican Franciscan; he was not entirely comfortable with zealous missionaries. Nonetheless, Hideyoshi and his fellow warlords were an important source of commissions for sumptuous decoration and objects in what became known as the Nanban style.
Religion is clearly not the main theme here. The artist of this screen is frankly interested in the trade in luxury goods between Japanese and Portuguese. Foreign commerce, notably the silk trade, was supported by the Japanese military leaders and Portuguese made big profits exchanging Chinese silk for Japanese silver. The main street here is lined with shops. Moving from left to right, we see first a medicine store selling exotica in the form of rhinoceros horn, the carapace of a giant tortoise, coral from the South Seas and even goldfish. In the next shop, a Portuguese seated with a Japanese interpreter is buying silver in exchange for his gold. His capacious money pouch is open by his side. The next two shops sell bronze vessels, ceramics, tea wares and textiles. In the first of these, business seems to be languishing. The owner’s wife sits outside nursing and infant and their scrawny dog is stretched out under the porch. The bored but nosey shop owner peeks through the front curtain to observe a Japanese merchant passing by on horseback with goods for trade. In the last shop, an elderly Japanese customer admires a textile. Other local colour takes the form of a samurai client grimacing as his head is shaved at an open-air barber shop. An adventurous foreigner buys sweet rice balls on a skewer (dango) at a food stall.
Gold clouds subdivide the composition into three main sections: the black ship silhouetted at the left; the main shopping street; and—most unusual—the scene at the centre top of a fortified daimyo mansion. The mansion replaces the Jesuit seminary that is frequently included in such Nanban screens. The daimyo sits before a folding screen and holds a closed fan as he meets a group of Portuguese, shown as humble suitors seated deferentially outside on the veranda.
The earliest screen of this type is thought to date from the 1590s and is attributed to Kano Mitsunobu (1561/5–1608), who was called from Kyoto to decorate Hideyoshi’s Nagoya Castle in northern Kyushu. Mitsunobu may have travelled to Nagasaki to observe the “Southern Barbarians” at first hand. The fad for Nanban screens continued into the second quarter of the seventeenth century. The novel subject fascinated the Japanese, and the Kano-school atelier as well as other professional painting studios in Kyoto made numerous versions in the early seventeenth century for clientele prepared to enjoy the strange costumes and odd physiognomy of these tall, hairy and long-nosed Southern Barbarians, a throwback to the outlandish imagery familiar from the iconography of Daoist immortals.
Around ninety Nanban screens are now recorded and Japanese scholars have determined that the subject ranked second in popularity only to screens depicting Scenes in and around the Capital (Rakuchu rakugai zu). What accounts for this high demand? One theory about the use of these screens is that their foreignness and abundance of luxury goods were viewed as a charm for happiness and prosperity. Trade was without question auspicious and generated wealth, and the original owners of such screens were for the most part merchants in port cities along the Japan Sea coast or the Inland Sea. Thematically, the painting here continues a tradition of now-lost screens of Chinese trade ships that were in vogue during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries at the peak of the Sino-Japanese tribute missions that brought entourages numbering in the thousands from the Ming court.1
Far from being oddities, Nanban screens are recognized as the product of mainstream Kyoto painting studios, in an indigenous style typical of genre screens of the late Momoyama and early Edo periods. Looking at other known examples of Nanban screens, the scene of the arrival of the ship and the procession of the captain-major on shore can be usually seen on the right-hand screen of a pair. However, this screen is unusual in its rather compact size and in recent research by Mitsuru Sakamoto, it has been proposed that this screen was made as a single screen, not as a pair.2In addition to this there are two examples of small-sized screens in the Itsuo Art Museum, Osaka which are also thought to be single screens.3
Unlike most Nanban screens, there is an exceptional liveliness and originality to the present example. Foreign traders and Japanese merchants interact with one another. Goods are inspected and money changes hands. The foreigners are exotic but not forbidding; they are humanised with a wealth of charming anecdotal detail and good humour. This work exemplifies the harmonious interaction and trade between Japanese and Europeans four hundred years ago. Stored away for centuries, it is in exceptionally fine condition and features the gold leaf and jewel-like colours of costly ground malachite and azurite that signal the work of a master.
1. Yukio Lippit, ‘Japan’s Southern Barbarian Screens’, in Jay A. Levenson, ed., Encompassing the Globe, (Washington, DC, 2007), p. 248
2. Mitsuru Sakamoto et al., Nanban byobu shusei [A Catalogue Raisonné of the Nanban Screens] (Tokyo, 2008), p. 381.
3. Mitsuru Sakamoto et al., Nihon byobu-e shusei, vol. 15 Fuzokuga - Nanban byobu-e shusei, (Tokyo, 1982), no. 89 and p. 90, no. 103
Other highlights include a pair of late 17th century Kakiemon models of Chinese boys seated on go boards with ornate early 18th century French gilt-bronze mounts (estimate: £200,000-300,000),
A Pair of Kakiemon Models of Karako (Chinese Boys) Seated on Go Boards with French Gilt Bronze Mounts. The porcelain, Edo period (late 17th century), the elaborate Chinoiserie-style mercury-gilt bronze mounts, first half 18th century. Estimate £200,000-300,000 ($300,000-450,000) (€280,000-410,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
Both decorated in iron-red, green, blue, yellow and black enamels, the boys wearing robes, one with folded fans and maple leaves, the other with cherry blossoms, each smiling and holding a ball, the board with the squares delineated in underglaze blue, the sides with prunus spray, the ormolu decoration to the head and base with stylised foliage, shell and crescent moon, a paper label stating Art Treasures Exhibition, New York Antique and Art Dealers Association, 1955, no. 244 to the base of one figure. Each 27.5cm. high
Provenance: Mr and Mrs Jack Linsky
Literature: New York Antique and Art Dealers Association Inc., Art Treasures Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, (New York, 1955), cat. no. 244.
Exhibited: Art Treasures Exhibition, presented by the New York Antique and Art Dealers Association Inc, the Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 16-30 June, 1955
Illustration of the fgures in the Art Treasures Exhibition catalogue, New York 1955.
Notes: During the time of the flowering of Japanese porcelain around the middle of the 17th century Europe was on the dawn of the ‘Age of Enlightenment’. The grand houses and palaces of Europe were to be decorated throughout with paintings and exotic crafts, among which Japanese porcelain known as Kakiemon ware, with its distinctive red enamelling over a milky white opaque glaze was among the most desired. The Kakiemon family of potters remained active from the 17th century onward and still thrive today. Early pieces are now highly regarded throughout the world. The 1688 inventory of the Burghley House collection of the Earl of Exeter includes a number of pieces still in the collection and clearly identifiable today, some of which are believed to have found their way into the British Museum. Queen Mary’s great collection kept at Kensington and Hampton Court Palaces believed to have been amassed in 1689 was mostly dispersed after the Queen’s death, contained significant pieces recorded in a 1696 inventory.
The Japanese porcelain industry flourished before the secrets of porcelain manufacture were discovered in Europe, and the shapes and designs of Kakiemon ware had a widespread and lasting effect on later European wares such as Chantilly, Meissen, Chelsea, and Bow. In addition to table ware and decorative vases, tea and coffee pots, the Kakiemon family made figures of humans, beauties, wrestlers, children, and animals. Some of these pieces would be mounted in ormolu stands and given pride of place in European mansions and palaces.
The design of this lot is probably based on the old traditional ritual ceremony in Japan, chakko no gi, in which the boy wears hakama [Japanese male skirt] for the first time on the go board when he reaches his fifth year of age. This tradition is still observed in the Japanese Imperial Family. It is also said that the go board symbolises the world.
For a similar example without ormolu in the Kurita Museum collection, see Kurita Hideo, Kurita Collection, (Tokyo, 1967), p.238-9, no. 111; and go to http:/www.kurita.or.jp/imari/catalog/index.htm (ref. no. 40).
For a similar example without ormolu, see Vincent L’Herrou Galerie Théorème, Europe-Asie Echanges et Influences, exhibition cat. 20 October – 20 November 1994, (Paris, 1994), front cover and p.2-3.
For further examples see Oliver Impey, Japanese Export Porcelain – Catalogue of The Collection of The Ashmolean Museum Oxford, (Amsterdam, 2002), no. 188, (for further example in the Reitlinger Collection); Japan Society, New York, The Burghley Porcelains: An Exhibition from the Burghley House Collection and Based on the 1688 Inventory and 1690 Devonshire Schedule (New York, 1986), pl.94, and for an example in the Kyushu Ceramic Museum see Kyushu Ceramic Museum, The Shibata Collection, Part V: The Creation and Development of the Enpo Style, (Arita, 1997).
The previous owners Mr and Mrs Jack Linsky (Jack and Belle) were important collectors who left much of their collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. They started to assemble their distinguished collection of European 18th-century porcelains in the 1920s. For more information about their collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, see Polly Cone, The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art(Metropolitan Museum of Art Series), (New York, 1984) and go to the museum website:
For an Arita model boat in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen is mounted in ormolu with similar fish from the mid-18th century. See John Ayers, Oliver Impey, et al., Porcelain for Palaces: The Fashion for Japan in Europe 1650-1750, (London, 1990), p. 163, no. 140.
and an important Christian late 16th century lacquer shrine commissioned by the Portuguese Jesuits, containing a Flemish painting of the Virgin Mary, similar to the example in the Kyushu National Museum (estimate: £180,000-250,000).
An Important Portable Christian Shrine (Seigan) Commissioned by the Portuguese Jesuits, Momoyama period (late 16th century). Estimate £180,000-250,000 ($270,000-370,000) (€250,000-340,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The shallow rectangular case with a bentwood architectural top, gilt-copper hinge plates and original L-bar lock engraved with flowers on an irregular ring-matted ground, the sides and back plain and the outsides and insides of the doors decorated in hiramaki-e and harigaki in gold and silver with pinks and bell flowers on the exterior and bush clover on the interior, the central image a copper panel painted in oils with the Virgin Mary crowned gazing tenderly at the sleeping Christ Child, her hands together in prayer, St. Joseph standing at her right and the infant St. John the Baptist, his left forefinger at his lips and holding a cross draped with a ribbon inscribed Ecce Agnus Dei, the whole above a gilt inscription in Roman script typically contracted reading Egodormio et Cor Mev. Vi-gi-lat (‘Ego dormio et cor meum vigilat’ is a quotation from the Old Testament Song of Solomon (also known as the Song of Songs), chapter 5, verse 2, in the Vulgate Latin version. It may be translated as ‘While I sleep, my heart is watchful’, and is here being applied to the Christ child); the copper panel below set in a glazed frame and with a separate shaped pediment all painted with the characteristic Nanban tendril; 41.5 x 28 x 5cm. (frame); 23 x 28cm. (copper panel)
Literature: Kyushu National Museum ed., Kaikan tokubetsu shuppin seihin senshu (A special inaugural exhibition catalogue), (Fukuoka, 2005), cat. no. 91.
Exhibited: Kaikan tokubetsu shuppin seihin senshu (A special inaugural exhibition), Kyushu National Museum, 2005
Notes: The devotional image in the shrine offered here was painted on copper by an anonymous Flemish artist in the early seventeenth century. The lacquer case is decorated with autumn motifs and tendril meander common to Japanese Nanban (‘Southern Barbarian’) lacquers as a whole (and first introduced around 1580), but unlike other examples, this shrine is highly unusual because it does not employ mother-of-pearl inlay and does not feature images of birds and butterflies. (Mother-of-pearl was used to reflect candlelight in dark interiors). The absence of mother-of-pearl is puzzling but may indicate an early date and certainly aligns this piece with Kodaiji lacquers that were popular around 1590 to 1600.
The lacquer artist made extensive use of the harigaki technique: a sharp instrument like a needle (hari) was used to incise details into the lacquer before it was fully dried. The gold and silver hiramaki-e (powdered gold and silver decoration in low or flat relief), left unpolished, and the use of the so-called Nanban tendril meander also provide stylistic and technical links to lacquers preserved at Kodaiji Temple, Kyoto, the mausoleum completed in 1606 for Kitano Mandokoro, the widow of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1568–1595). The Kodaiji Temple lacquers were probably originally made for Hideyoshi’s nearby Fushimi Castle in the 1590s, but were repurposed for the mausoleum.
In the spread of Nanban devotional art, the trade went both ways. Portuguese Jesuits commissioned local Japanese craftsmen to make votive objects—portable lacquer hanging shrines and folding lecterns—for use in the churches they were establishing in Japan and also for export to the West for profit. Few pieces survived in Japan itself as most were confiscated during the severe persecutions against Christian missionaries and converts in the 1620s and 1630s. Most Nanban objects have been found in the West, although many have now been repatriated to Japan. The lacquer cases for these hanging shrines were made in a non-Christian lacquer workshop in Kyoto. The religious icons commissioned by the Jesuits for export to Europe as private altars had to survive long voyages and rough handling.
In 1549, Francis Xavier, who founded the Jesuit order with Ignatius Loyola nine years earlier, arrived in Japan to begin evangelising. That missionary effort was a success, attracting many converts, and the original supply of religious artefacts was soon exhausted. Japanese converts requested images of the Saviour, the Virgin Mary and the various saints. To meet that demand, the Jesuits commissioned local artists to copy imported religious art and they sent for supplies from the Jesuit Curia in Rome. Several years might elapse before shipments arrived from Europe. As a result, there was increased use of local artisans as Japan’s so-called Christian Century progressed. A great deal of Christian art was produced in Japan at that time, although much of it was inevitably lost during the subsequent persecution of Christians. The few surviving Japanese paintings of Christian themes show Western stylistic influence. Liturgical lacquer objects, on the other hand, display an interesting mixture of Eastern and Western taste.
The icons housed in shrines are painted in oil on either panel or copper. Most were probably placed in a case once they were delivered to the West. Some icons, however, are attributed to the school of Brother Giovanni Niccolò (1563–1626), a capable painter from Naples, who reached Nagasaki in 1583 and became director of the Japanese Jesuit art academy in Kyushu. This Seminary of Painters was the most flourishing Jesuit art workshop in Asia, flush with both Japanese and Chinese students.
Japanese portable Christian shrines are extremely rare. The existence of such Nanban (‘Southern Barbarian’) shrines was first recognized by Martha Boyer in 1951 (Boyer, Japanese Export Lacquer [Copenhagen, 1951], p. xxvii, Pl. 23). Subsequent research by the Japanese lacquer scholars Okada Jo and Arakawa Hirokazu, as well as by Toshio Watanabe, Haino Akio and Oliver Impey, uncovered more and the corpus now numbers at least a dozen. Extant examples take two forms. They are basically rectangular cases with two folding doors. Some, including the example offered here, have decorative pediments. Only those shrines with decorative pediments have images of the Virgin. An example in a private collection has a painting with the nearly identical iconography of the Virgin with Joseph, the infant St. John the Baptist, and Christ Child (see Haino Akio, Maki-e/The Beauty of Black and Gold Japanese Lacquer [Kyoto: Kyoto National Museum, 1995], pl. 130). All shrines have gilt-copper fittings. In the present example, the fittings are decorated with cherry blossoms, a deliberate counterpoint to the autumn imagery decorating the doors. The dense floral imagery of pinks and bell flowers on the back of the doors is darkened now owing to an overlay of varnish. The interior design of bush clover is elegant and simple, curving gently toward the intimate painting at the centre.
For a similar example now in the Kyushu National Museum collection, see Sezon Museum of Art and Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, eds., ‘Porutogaru to Nanban bunka’ ten: mezase toho no kuniguni (‘Portugal and Nanban culture’ exhibition: Via Orientals) (Tokyo, 1993), p. 206, no. 184; and go to the Kyushu National Museum website (Japanese): http:/www.kyuhaku.jp/collection/collection_gl01.html. For a shrine with similar design of autumn grasses on the doors, see Oliver R. Impey, Japanese Export Lacquer 1580–1850 (Amsterdam, 2005), p. 186, fig. 445.
Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles Christie’s South Kensington, 12 & 15 May at 10am
Christie’s South Kensington’s two-day sale of Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles offers works of art across a wide range of media including porcelain, jade carvings, glass, bronzes, Buddhist art, cloisonné enamel, furniture, paintings, textiles and scholar’s objects that span over two thousand years of Chinese art from the Neolithic period to the early 20th century.
The porcelain is led by a pair of copper red-decorated ‘dragon’ bowls, Kangxi six-character marks in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period (1662-1722) (estimate: £30,000 – £50,000). It is unusual to find a pair of bowls with this decoration in copper red and an almost identical single bowl is in the Percival David Collection at the British Museum; another bowl of this type is in the collection of the Shanghai Museum and is illustrated in Kangxi Porcelain wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Hong Kong.
A pair of copper red-decorated ‘dragon’ bowls, Kangxi six-character marks in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period (1662-1722). Estimate £30,000-50,000 ($45,000-74,000) (€42,000-69,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
Each bowl is finely incised and decorated to the exterior with two striding five-clawed dragons chasing flaming pearls, all between a thick copper red band to the mouth and foot rims. 6 1/8 in. (15.5 cm.) diam.
Notes: Compare the current bowls to an almost identical single bowl in the Percival David Collection at the British Museum, museum number PDF, B.665.
Another bowl of this type is in the collection of the Shanghai Museum and is illustrated in Kangxi Porcelain wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1998, p. 110, no. 73.
The cover lot is a pair of Republic period famille rose jardinières from The Collection of Barone Angelo Pezzino di Geronimo, which was assembled circa 1950 (estimate: £12,000-18,000). Each vessel is a ceramic tour-de-force finely painted with alternating moulded panels depicting a snow scene, spring landscape and calligraphy, all reserved on a powder-blue ground, between two bands with moulded decoration in robin’s egg glaze and gilt.
A pair of famille rose jardinières, Republic period (1912-1949). Estimate £12,000-18,000 ($18,000-27,000) (€17,000-25,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
Each vessel is finely painted with alternating panels depicting a snow scene, spring landscape and calligraphy, all reserved on a powder-blue ground, between two bands with moulded decoration in robin's egg glaze and gilt. There is an apocryphal Qianlong mark to the rim. 17 in. (43 cm.) diam., wood stands
Provenance: The collection of Barone Angelo Pezzino di Geronimo, assembled circa 1950.
The Collection of Cedric and Anne-Charlotte Maby presents an early example, circa 1930, of Zhang Daqian’s (1899-1983) landscapes, for which the legendary Chinese painter - who is considered one of the country’s greatest modern masters - became so well known (estimate: £40,000-60,000). Cedric Maby first went to China when he joined the Diplomatic Service in 1939. While he was there, he studied Mandarin and developed a keen interest in Chinese culture, returning to the United Kingdom in 1957 with his wife and three children. They acquired a small collection of paintings and ceramics during this time, taking great pleasure in later years in sharing the beauty of these objects and the stories that accompanied them with friends and family. Cedric Maby published memoirs of his travels and Chinese poetry translated into Welsh.
Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), circa 1930. Estimate £40,000-60,000 ($60,000-89,000) (€56,000-83,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper. Inscribed and signed with two seals of the artist. 14 5/8 x 34 in. (37.3 x 86.2 cm.)
Provenance: Acquired in Beijing in April 1959.
Following the very well received offering of lots from The Geronimo Berenguer de los Reyes, Jr. Collection in Hong Kong and Paris in November and December 2014 respectively, this auction presents a notable 90-lot assemblage of snuff bottles, glass and works of art from the passionate collector who bought throughout the 1980s, 90s and until recently from reputable dealers and auction houses. His GBR Museum in Manila, Philippines, was featured in Arts of Asia Magazine in 1998. A particular focus of the collection is 18th and 19th century carved and overlaid glass: vases, cups and bowls feature in a myriad of vibrant colours including yellow, red, blue, green, white, pink and turquoise and exemplify the glass makers’ art. Among the earliest glass highlights is an 18th century four-colour overlay glass tripod censer and cover, carved through the red, pale green and blue overlay with four sinuous chilong among scattered clouds and bats on an opaque greyish-white ground, the cover similarly decorated (estimate: £6,000 – £10,000).
A four-colour overlay glass tripod censer and cover, 18th century. Estimate £6,000 – £10,000 ($8,900-15,000) (€8,400-14,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The censer is carved through the red, pale green and blue overlay with four sinuous chilong amongst scattered clouds and bats on an opaque greyish-white ground, the cover similarly decorated. 5 in. (12.7 cm.) high, wood stand
Provenance: Property from the Geronimo Berenguer de los Reyes, Jr. collection.
Featuring in the collection’s works of art section is a delicately modelled late 19th century yellow glazed ewer, finely carved as a bamboo section with a chilong (dragon) crouching on the spout and lingzhi finial to the cover (estimate: £5,000 – £8,000).
A yellow glazed carved ewer, late 19th century. Estimate £5,000 – £8,000 ($7,500-12,000) (€7,000-11,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The ewer is finely carved as a bamboo section with branches of prunus and bamboo, with a chilong crouching on the spout and lingzhi finial to the cover. It is covered in a bright yellow glaze. There is an apocryphal Qianlong mark to the base. 4 ¾ in. (11.9 cm.) high, wood stand
Provenance: Property from the Geronimo Berenguer de los Reyes, Jr. collection.
The snuff bottles - which are offered in a mixture of 38 single and group lots and executed in glass, porcelain, jade and other hardstones, predominantly dating to the 19th century - showcase the skills of Chinese craftsmen in miniature art form. Estimates for the glass and the snuff bottles in this collection largely range from £1,000 to £10,000.
A selection of snuff bottles in glass, porcelain, jade and other hardstones predominantly dating to the 19th century. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
The most valuable snuff bottle in the sale is a carved cameo agate snuff bottle, Suzhou (1780-1850), which is from The Ferrari Collection, a private Belgian collection (estimate: £15,000-25,000).
A carved cameo agate snuff bottle, Suzhou, 1780-1850. Estimate £15,000-25,000 ($23,000-37,000) (€21,000-35,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The rounded bottle is cleverly carved using the darker brown markings with the Hehe Erxian amongst trees and rocks. One twin is holding a bird while seated on a double gourd bottle while the other twin is seated on a box opening to reveal a mythical beast in a cloud of smoke. 2 1/8 in. (5.5 cm.) high, stopper.
Provenance: Property from a private Belgian collection- The Ferrari Collection
Christie’s also will offer The Stan Barden Collection of Snuff Bottles, which was assembled by Barden (1924-1988) and his wife Marianne from 1960 to 1981. The collection comprises eight lots (527-534 inclusive) including a carved cinnabar lacquer snuff bottle, Qianlong two-character mark in gilt and of the period (1736-1795) (estimate: £2,000 – £3,000). Barden began collecting in 1960 after he took up a post in Hong Kong as a civil engineer for the Public Works Department. His next door neighbour was Michael Kaynes-Klitz, an avid snuff bottle collector who became a life-long friend. Kaynes-Klitz founded the International Snuff Bottle Society in Hong Kong in 1968. The South China Morning Post described Kaynes-Klitz as "the spiritual leader of snuff bottle collecting". At its height, the society boasted 20,000 members worldwide. Stan was founder member number 1 and Marianne number 2. Stan bought almost exclusively from the Hong Kong-based dealer Y.F.Yang who traded in Chungking Arcade and later in Ocean Terminal before moving to Honolulu in the 1980s. He admired all types of snuff bottle but had the greatest affinity to agate. Several agate bottles are offered here including lots 531 and 534 which is a particular highlight. In 1981, in recognition of work done by the Transport Survey Organisation for Hong Kong’s mass transit system, the MTR, Stan Barden was awarded the Imperial Service Order, I.S.O. by the Queen.
A carved cinnabar lacquer snuff bottle, Qianlong two-character mark in gilt and of the period (1736-1795). Estimate £2,000 – £3,000 ($3,000-4,400) (€2,800-4,200). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The bottle is of flattened circular form and is carved to each side with a scene of a figure within a mountainous landscape, surrounded by pine, bamboo and wutong. The stopper is carved in the form of a chrysanthemum. 2 ¾ in. (7 cm.) high, including stopper, wood stand
Provenance: With Y.F. Yang, Hong Kong, acquired prior to 1981.
For thousands of years, jade has been prized in China as an auspicious material with magical properties, more highly valued than gold and silver. The auction offers several private collections of jade including a diverse 30-lot assemblage from an East Asian collection that includes exquisite carved white jade pendants from the 19th century and carvings from the Neolithic period. The sale also features a selection of jades from the Property of the Blair Charitable Trust, previously from Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, Scotland, highlighted by a pale celadon vase and cover which is carved in shallow relief with a stylised design that draws on archaic bronzes for its artistic inspiration (estimate: £10,000 - £15,000).
A pale celadon jade vase and cover, 18th-19th century. Estimate £10,000 - £15,000 ($15,000-22,000) (€14,000-21,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The vase is carved and pierced with stylised dragon handles and is decorated in shallow relief to each side with a continuous design of archaistic taotie masks on a geometric ground between a band of keyfret to the mouth and the foot. The cover is similarly decorated. The stone is of a pale celadon tone with some cloudy-white flecks and pale russet fissures. 9 5/8 in. (24.5 cm.) high
Provenance: Property of The Blair Charitable Trust. Previously in Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, Scotland.
Christie’s will offer a selection of thangkas and Buddhist gilt bronzes from The Collection of Cheng Huan Q.C., S.C. (lots 115-133 inclusive), which have been kept at Stockton House in Wiltshire for many years. Cheng Huan began his collection over forty years ago, buying from reputable London and Hong Kong dealers and international auction houses including Christie's. Initially, he focused on jade carvings but from around 1990 turned his collecting sights to Buddhist art. Highlights include a large gilt-bronze figure of Vairocana, circa 17th century, acquired in 1987 from renowned London dealer Spink & Son Ltd (estimate: £8,000 – £12,000).
A large gilt-bronze figure of Vairocana, circa 17th century. Estimate £8,000 – £12,000 ($12,000-18,000) (€12,000-17,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
Buddha Vairocana is seated in dhyanasana upon a lotus base with his hands crossed in front of his chest invajrahumkara mudra. He is wearing an elaborate five-pronged tiara and wheel-form earrings, and has a serene smiling expression on his face. 28 ½ in. (72.4 cm.) high
Provenance:With Spink & Son Ltd., London, 10 June 1987.
The collection of Cheng Huan, Q.C., S.C.
Note: Vairocana is one of the most important Buddhas of early Tantric Buddhism, alongside Akshobhya and Amitabha. In some teachings, he is regarded as a spiritual form of Shakyamuni Buddha. He is also the central figure of the Five Tathagatas, or ‘Wisdom Buddhas’ of Mahayana Buddhism.
The Thangkas are led by an 18th/19th century example depicting Shadbhuja Mahakal (estimate: £5,000-8,000).
A thangka depicting Shadbhuja Mahakal, 18th-19th century. Estimate £5,000-8,000 ($7,500-12,000) (€7,000-11,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
The six-armed deity is depicted in a striding posture, trampling upon Ganapati, surrounded by a mass of blazing flames. He holds various attributes in his hands, including a vajra, a skull cup, a damaru and an outstretched elephant skin. He bears a fearsome expression on his face and his waist is draped with a tiger skin. Akshobhya is seated above to the centre, with two groups of lamas to either side. There are further deities encircling the central figure amongst hellish scenes. 25 ¼ in. x 37 3/8 in. (64 cm. x 95 cm.), framed and glazed
Provenance: The collection of Cheng Huan, Q.C., S.C.
Among the earliest works in the sale is a striking pair of archaic bronze animal-head chariot fittings from the Warring States period (475-221 BC) from a private collection (estimate: £7,000-£10,000). These very unusual boldly cast works have a commanding presence.
A pair of archaic bronze animal-head chariot fittings, Warring States period (475-221 BC). Estimate £5,000-8,000 ($7,500-12,000) (€7,000-11,000). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015
Each ftting is cast in the form of a ferocious animal head with a loose ring between its barred teeth, upright pointed ears and protruding eyes. Each is decorated with a stylised archaic designs including swirls and stripes. The bronze has a mottled reddish brown patina with areas of blue-green encrustation. The larger 6¿ in. (15.5 cm.) high, excluding stand (2)
Provenance: Sotheby’s London, 8 June 1993, lot 117.
With Paul Champkins, London, 17 June 1998.
Property from the collection of the late Michael Sherrard C.B.E, Q.C. (1928-2012).
Exhibited: Paul Champkins Animals in Bronze and Jade, London, 6th December 2006, no. 1.
Offered with excellent provenance, they are among 24 lots of jade, ceramics and bronzes from the Property of the late Michael Sherrard C.B.E, Q.C. (1928-2012).
HONG KONG - TOURING HIGHLIGHTS
Touring highlights from the Hong Kong May sales include a remarkable group of five bamboo carvings from The Feng Wen Tang Collection which also comprises Chinese paintings by Modern masters and exquisite huanghuali Furniture. A collection named in memory of the collector’s father, the works were assembled over more than 30 years by a well-known Hong Kong collector. Among the highlights on view in London are a bamboo root brush holder carved with a drunken scholar, late Ming-early Qing period, (17th century) [明末/ 清初 竹根雕聽松圖山子] (estimate: HK$150,000-240,000/ £13,000-20,000), a carved bamboo sampan, Qing dynasty (18th -19th century), [清中期 竹雕舢舨] (estimate: HK$400,000-600,000/ £34,000-51,000) and a carved and reticulated bamboo parfumier, Qing dynasty, 18th century [清十八世紀 竹雕人物故事圖香筒] (estimate: HK$150,000-260,000). Beyond White Clouds – Chinese Scholar's Rocks 出雲疊嶂–文人案頭賞石 is a private collection comprising 11 Scholar’s Rocks and two paintings all of which will be on view, ahead of being offered for sale in Hong Kong later in the year. The group is led by Cloud form Lingbi (estimate: HK$2-3 million/ £170,000-260,000) and also includes a lingbi scholar’s rock resting on two points (estimate: HK$600,000-900,000/£51,000-77,000) and a painting by Lan Ying (estimate: HK$260,000-400,000/ £22,000-34,000).
PARIS – TOURING HIGHLIGHTS
The sale in Paris on 9 June will offer impressive works of art across a diverse range of media, many from notable private European collections. Among the 19 works on tour ahead of the sale, five highlights include: a large and magnificent cloisonné enamel ‘elephant’ tripod censer and cover, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795), the magnificent quality of the enamelling and casting suggesting that they were commissioned and produced under the supervision of the Palace Workshops (Zaoban chu) (estimate: €150,000200,000); Reading in the Mountains, a scroll painting by Fu Baoshi (1904-1965) (estimate: €400,000-600,000); a finely painted Ming-style blue and white Sanduo vase, Meiping, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong six-character seal mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1736-1795) (estimate: €120,000-180,000); a rare and finely carved white jade bowl and cover, lian, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795) (estimate: €120,000-180,000); and a finely carved and imperially inscribed archaistic white jade vase, fanggu, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (17361795) (estimate: €120,000-180,000).