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Over a period of twenty years James Sowell slowly assembled the best collection of Chinese porcelain birds, animals and figures in the country. Not only comprehensive, the Sowell Collection features jewels of top quality in each category it encompasses, from important, large pairs of majestic birds, courtiers and exotic animals to charming and colorful figures of laughing boys and courting couples. 

The collection resided happily in the Sowells’ Dallas home surrounded by classic English furniture of the Georgian period. In 2008 the export collection was published by Sowell’s dealers and advisors Cohen and Cohen in a lavishly illustrated and researched book, Mandarin and Menagerie

A thread running through all of the Sowell Collection is stellar provenance. With acquisitions from landmark London and Paris auctions as well as from top European dealers, the Sowell Collection represents the enduring pleasures of the finest works of art. Christie's is very pleased to bring this last tranche of the Sowell Collection to market, so that other collectors can enjoy these intriguing and appealing porcelains. 

A rare Japanese porcelain recumbent crane, Arita, circa 1800

A rare Japanese porcelain recumbent crane, Arita, circa 1800. Estimate $10,000 – $15,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

With one wing raised and the head looking back, finely modeled neck and breast feathers and the crown in iron-red - 9 ½ in. (24 cm.) long

ProvenanceAcquired with Joshua Sinai, New York. 
Bonhams, London, 2004.

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A Japanese porcelain bijin, Arita, 17th-early 18th century. Estimate $30,000 – $50,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Elegantly modeled standing, her robe finely enameled with fruiting branches, in the typical Kakiemon palette - 15 ½ in. (39.4 cm.) high

Provenance: Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 8 November 2007, lot 70.

Literature: M. Cohen and W. Motley, Mandarin and Menagerie, Chinese and Japanese Export Ceramic Figures, Reigate, 2008, pp. 98, 5.1

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A pair of Japanese porcelain boys, Arita, early 18th century. Estimate $15,000 – $25,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Each modeled as a karako, holding a vase with a puppy playing at his feet - 12 3/4 in. (32.5 cm.) high

Provenance: Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 5 November 2007, lot 168.

Literature: M. Cohen and W. Motley, Mandarin and Menagerie, Chinese and Japanese Export Ceramic Figures, Reigate, 2008, pp. 90, no. 4.4

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A Japanese porcelain leaping carp, Arita, 17th-early 18th century. Estimate $4,000 – $6,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Modeled as though ascending through water, resting on a rectangular plinth in brown and green enamels - 12 ¼ in. (31 cm.) high

ProvenanceWith Kevin Page, London.

Literature: M. Cohen and W. Motley, Mandarin and Menagerie, Chinese and Japanese Export Ceramic Figures, Reigate, 2008, pp. 136, no. 8.2

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A Japanese Arita cat-form ewer and cover, Edo period, circa 1690. Estimate $3,000 – $5,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Modeled as though ascending through water, resting on a rectangular plinth in brown and green enamels - 12 ¼ in. (31 cm.) high

ProvenanceAnonymous sale; Christie's, London, 5 November 2007, lot 170.

Literature: M. Cohen and W. Motley, Mandarin and Menagerie, Chinese and Japanese Export Ceramic Figures, Reigate, 2008, pp. 151, no. 10.2

Christie's. CHINESE EXPORT ART, 21 January 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza