078N09465_8TP7F (Rare and Exceptional Pair of Huanghuali and Huamu 'Fu' Character Yokeback Armchairs)

Pair of Rare and Exceptional Huanghuali And Huamu ‘Fu’ Character Yokeback Armchairs. Estimate $500/700,000. Photo: Sotheby's

NEW YORK, NY.- Asia Week at Sotheby’s will be led by two single-owner sales of Chinese Works of Art. The Reverend Richard Fabian Collection of Chinese Classical Furniture will feature 63 lots from one of the few remaining private collections of Chinese hardwood furniture in the United States of such scope and magnitude. Ranging from small table-top objects such as brushpots to a Pair of Rare and Exceptional Huanghuali And Huamu ‘Fu’ Character Yokeback Armchairs, this sale will be offered without reserve (estimate $500/700,000). 

Chinese Art from Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts 
15 March 2016, 2pm 
A dedicated sale of Chinese Art from the Rosen House will feature a broad range of Song Dynasty to early 20th Century ceramics and works of art, many of which were acquired by the Rosens in the mid-20th century. The sale will be led by an exceptional selection of Imperial enameled metal wares dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties. A Rare and Impressive Cloisonné-Enamel and Gilt-Bronze Five-Piece Altar Garniture (Wugong) represents the pinnacle of artistic and technical achievement of imperial enamel craftsmanship during the Qianlong period of the Qing dynasty (estimate $300/500,000). 

Caramoor, room shot

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A Rare and Impressive Cloisonné-Enamel and Gilt-Bronze Five-Piece Altar Garniture (Wugong), Qing dynasty, Qianlong periodEstimate $500/700,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

comprising: a tripod incense burner, a pair of gu vases and a pair of candlesticks; the censer with a globular body supported on tall cylindrical legs, with a pair of upright loop handles, the body with a band of raised gilt bosses beneath the rim, the pierced domed cover surmounted by a coiled dragon finial; the gu vases with a bulging middle section below a trumpet mouth and above a splayed foot; the candlesticks raised on a bell-shaped lower section, rising to a circular drip pan with flaring sides supporting later added gilt-bronze ornaments of cylindrical form with coiled dragons, servings as covers for the candle prickets, each vessel intricately enameled with lotus scrolls, lappet bands and archaistic taotie masks reserved on a turquoise-blue ground (6). Height of largest 24 in., 61 cm 

ProvenanceCollection of Samuel P. Avery (1847–1920).
Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, c. 1909 to 1941.
Ralph M. Chait, New York, 1945.

LiteratureJohn Getz, Catalogue of the Avery Collection of Ancient Chinese Cloisonnés, Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, 1912, pl 16. 

NotesThis five-piece garniture is notable for its large size, reflecting the technical developments achieved by cloisonné craftsmen active in the 18th century who were able to produce high quality pieces of considerable proportions. The design on each vessel has been carefully executed; the layout of the thin wires forming the cloisons are precise and well planned and the bright enamel colors are all delicately blended and sophisticatedly done. Wares of this type were probably produced in one of the Palace Workshops, located in the Forbidden City, or in a private workshop in Guangzhou. 

Known as wugong (the five offerings), wares of this type were made in the finest materials to serve as ceremonial furnishings in the many shrines, temples and ritual spaces within the compounds of the Imperial palaces. A universal monarch at the center of the world, the Qianlong emperor lent his support to a variety of religious institutions, including Daoist and Buddhist temples, as well as Manchu shamanic shrines and the buildings and altars that housed the so-called ‘State Religion’, the worship of impersonal Heaven. Altar garnitures typically comprise an incense burner, placed in the center, flanked by two candleholders and gu-shaped vases, all placed on tall stools, as seen in a 20th century picture of the Daxiongbaodian of the Tanzhe Temple near Beijing, illustrated in Helmut Brinker and Albert Lutz, Chinese Cloisonné. The Pierre Uldry Collection, New York, 1989, p. 53, fig. 29. These ceremonial wares were conventionally modeled after archaic bronzes from the Shang and Zhou dynasties. By the Song dynasty this practice had already been established, but abandoned at the beginning of the Ming, when the Hongwu emperor decreed that daily utensils were to be used during state rituals. It was however reinstated in the first part of the Qianlong emperor’s reign, reflecting the emperor’s interest in the correct performance of ceremonies and rituals. Notably, the vessels that constitute this lot, combine an archaic form with designs popular during the Qing dynasty, evident in the ding incense burner, which is decorated with taotie masks over a geometric design that simulates luxurious textile brocade. 

Whilst variations to the design elements of the individual vessels may suggest the possibility the group was united as a garniture some time prior to 1909, the enamel palette and specific decorative elements appear to carry through from one vessel to the next; namely the stiff green-ground blades enameled with archaistic strapwork and the alternating aubergine, white and yellow and red, blue and yellow lotus scrolls. Variations in the designs are similarly evident in a small number of extant five-piece cloisonné enamel altar garnitures. A Qianlong period square-form archaistic garniture set in the Uldry collection enameled with taotie to the censer and vases, but not to the candlesticks, is illustrated in Helmut Brinker and Albert Lutz, Chinese Cloisonné. The Pierre Uldry Collection, New York, 1989, pl. 267. An 18th century altar garniture, sold in these rooms, 18th April 1989, lot 159, is enameled with shou characters to the censer and candlesticks, but not the vases. Similarly, the relatively small size of the central incense burner compared with the flanking candlesticks and vases can be seen on a Qianlong period white jade temple garniture from the Qing Court collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Jadeware (III), Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 113. 

Compare a five-piece altar garniture of similar large size, but with different decorative motifs, from the altar of the sacrificial hall at the Mausoleum of Yong, Xinbing, Liaoning province, illustrated in Wang Qiheng, Zhongguo jianzhu yishu quanji[Architecture of Qing Mausoleums], vol. 8, Beijing, 2003, pl. 11; and another of slightly smaller size, from the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in Compendium of Collection in the Palace Museum. Enamels, vol. 3, Cloisonné in the Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2011, pl. 7, together with a much smaller example, pl. 6. 

A tripod censer of similar form and decoration to the one in the present lot, also in the Palace Museum Beijing, illustrated ibid., pl. 187, together with one fitted with a black-ground cover, pl. 175; and a bell-shaped candlestick applied with similar lotus petals, published in the Compendium of Collection in the Palace Museum. Enamels, vol. 4, Cloisonné in the Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2011, pl. 39.

Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art 
15 March 2016, 10am 
111 lots of Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art will be sold on Tuesday, March 15th. The sale is anchored by a monumental painting by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde. Untitled (1960) is the largest known painting by the artist, and the highest-estimated work of art at Sotheby’s Asia Week (estimate $2.5/3.5 million).

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 Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924 - 2001), Untitled. Signed and dated in Devanagari on reverse. Oil on canvas, 59½ x 103 in. (152 x 262.5 cm). Painted in 1960. Estimate $2,500,000 — 3,500,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

Another highlight from this sale is Amrita Sher-gil’s In the Garden from the collection of her Hungarian cousin Viola Egan, estimated at $1.8/3 million. This rare, unpopulated landscape captures her transformation from a Portraitist trained in the 19th Century Salon-style to a Modernist with roots in Indian and Hungarian painting traditions. These masterpieces will be sold alongside important works by Indian modern masters including Tyeb Mehta, M. F. Husain, F. N. Souza and Sayed Haider Raza, amongst others. 

145N09479_76HTT (Sher-Gil)

Amrita Sher-Gil (1913 - 1941), Untitled (In the Garden). Oil on canvas, 29½ x 23⅝ in. (75 x 60 cm.). Painted circa 1938. Estimate $1,800,000 — 3,000,000Photo: Sotheby's.

Important Chinese Art 
16 March 2016, 10am & 2pm 
Important Chinese Art features 204 lots over two sessions. One of the star lots is the Rare and Important Sancai-Glazed Pottery Figure Of A Court Lady from the Collection of A. Alfred Taubman. This beautiful sculpture from the Tang Dynasty has held court in some of the world’s most important collections of Chinese Art including those of Captain S.N. Ferris Luboshez, C.C. Wang, and Irene and Earl Morse (estimate $700/900,000). In addition to this work from the Taubman Collection, the auction features single-owner sequences from Terence Stamp, the Collection of Elizabeth Mead Merck and the David Utterberg Collection. 

A Rare and Important Sancai-Glazed Pottery Figure Of A Court Lady, Tang Dynasty

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A Rare and Important Sancai-Glazed Pottery Figure Of A Court Lady, Tang DynastyEstimate $700,000 — 900,000Photo: Sotheby's.

exquisitely modeled, the elegant lady sitting demurely on a waisted rattan stool, wearing a long, pleated bright green-glazed skirt, tied above the waist and falling to the base, stopping short to reveal green 'triple-cloud' slippers with amber-glazed soles, the left hand lightly resting on one knee and holding the end of a long cream-glazed shawl tucked into the high-waisted sash and draped over the left shoulder, the right hand holding a long stemmed flower, the stylized bloom resting on one shoulder, a simple beaded necklace tied at the back of the neck, the gently rounded face with delicate features, the hair bound up in an elaborate winged coiffure set to either side with a floral ornament, all supported on a square green and ochre-glazed plinth - Height 16 in., 40.6 cm

ProvenanceCollection of Captain S.N. Ferris Luboshez, USN, acquired in China in the mid-1940s.
Sotheby's New York, 18th November 1982, lot 57.
Eskenazi Ltd., London.
C.C. Wang Family Collection.
Collection of Irene and Earl Morse.
Sotheby's New York, 1st June 1988, lot 88.
Acquired from the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman.

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The figure in the collection of Captain Sergius N. Ferris Luboshez

ExhibitedChinese Art from the Ferris Luboshez Collection, University of Maryland Art Gallery, 1972, cat. no. 85.

LiteratureJane Tilley Griffin, 'The Luboshez Collection', Arts of Asia, July - August, 1972, pp. 25-31, illus. pl. 26. 
Sarah Booth Conroy, 'From China to Maryland with Love...One of the greatest private collections',Washington Post, 26th March 1972.
Rita Reif, 'Antique View; A Captain's Store of Chinese Treasure', The New York Times, 14th November 1982.
Sarah Booth Conroy, 'Ferris Luboshez and the Great Call of China', The Washington Post, 25th November 1982.
Giuseppe Eskenazi, A Dealer's Hand, The Chinese Art World Through the Eyes of Giuseppe Eskenazi, London, 2012, pp. 66-68 (not illustrated).

Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art Including Property from the Estate of Dr. Claus Virch 
16 March 2016, 10am & 2pm 
The Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art department is pleased to present the second selection of classical Indian miniature paintings and drawings from the Estate of Dr. Claus Virch, alongside their seasonal sale. Highlights include an elegant selection of Tibetan and Tibeto-Chinese bronze sculptures and thangkas; Buddhist ritual objects; classical Indian stone sculptures and paintings; Southeast Asian bronze sculptures; and fine Jain paintings and sculptures. The sale is led by a rare Pala-period Stone Stele Depicting Scenes from the Life of Buddha from the 11th/12th Century, which served as a sacred memento for pilgrims on their journey from eastern India (estimate $100/150,000). 

479N09478_8TP2Q (Fine Sedimentary Stone Stele Depicting Scenes from the Life of Buddha)

A Fine Sedimentary Stone Stele Depicting Scenes from the Life of Buddha, Eastern India, Pala period, 11th-12th CenturyEstimate $100,000 — 150,000Photo: Sotheby's.

Himalayan Art Resources item no. 13093. 
Height: 5  7/8  in. (14.9 cm)

ProvenanceA&J Speelman, Ltd., 1998.

ExhibitedOn long-term loan to the Brooklyn Museum, New York, October 2004-July 2006. 

NotesThis exquisite stele is one of a small group of miniature sculptures carved during the Pala period (8th-12th Century) in eastern India. A number have been found in Tibetan and Burmese monastery collections indicating that they were probably made in part as pilgrims’ sacred mementos.

These shrines were originally thought to be Burmese but recent research has confirmed their origin as eastern India, see Hiram W. Woodward, “The Indian Roots of the ‘Burmese’ Life-of-the-Buddha Plaques”, Silk Road Art and Archaeology 5, 1997-98, pp. 395-407; and Steven Kossak’s seminal article “A Group of Miniature Pala Stelae from Bengal”, Orientations, July/August 1998, pp. 19-27 which firmly established the Indian provenance of the group.

The central figure of Buddha portrays the moment at which he triumphs over Mara just prior to his enlightenment: this momentous episode took place while seated beneath the bodhi tree at the vajrasana site in Bodh Gaya. In common with the majority of similar miniature stone stelae, the Buddha is depicted with a noticeably short neck, a stylistic trait associated with the principal image of Buddha in the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, now lost. The Mahabodhi sculpture is likely to have been a massive bronze made in contrasting metals, copper for the red monk’s robe and brass for the golden body of Buddha, and would have incorporated the idiosyncratic short neck: the statue was probably removed and destroyed for its metal content during the Muslim invasions of the twelfth century, see David Weldon and Jane Casey Singer, The Sculptural Heritage of Tibet, London, 1999, pp. 61-7. The present stele commemorates the Mahabodhi vajrasana Buddha in form and style, and portable plaques such as this served to spread the eastern Indian aesthetic and stylistic idiosyncrasies to Burma, Tibet and beyond.

The stele depicts the Eight Great Events in the life of Buddha. The nativity at Lumbini is depicted at the top left, with the first sermon at Sarnath below, and the taming of the Nalagiri elephant beneath.  The miracle at Sravasti is depicted top right, with the descent from Trayatrimsha heaven below and the presentation of honey by the monkey at Vashali beneath. Above the central image of Buddha seated beneath the bodhi tree at the vajrasana site is a scene representing his death and final enlightenment, or mahaparinirvana.

Compare a similar miniature sedimentary stone shrine in The Asia Society, see Sherman E. Lee, Asian Art: Part II: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller III, The Asia Society Inc, 1975, pls. 13-4, pp. 24-5; and nine similar shrines in Ulrich von Schroeder’s survey of Tibetan monastery collections, Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, Hong Kong, 2001, Vol. I, pp. 400-05, pls. 129A-31C.

Fine Classical Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy 
17 March 2016, 10am & 2pm 
Comprised of approximately 220 pieces, Fine Classical Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy will be offered over two sessions. A single-owner sequence of Property from an Important Private Collection features Huang Daozhou’s Epitaph for Wang Shilian in Regular Script, published in Calligraphy of Ming and Qing Masters edited by Jiang Zhaoshen (estimate $60/80,000). Kuncan’s Recluse in the Deep White Clouds is another highlight from this sale (estimate $200/250,000). Formerly in the collection of Zhang Xueliang, this hanging scroll of ink and color on paper appears on the market for the first time in over 25 years. 

717N09480_XXXXX (Huang Daozhou, Epitaph)

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Huang Daozhou (1585-1646), Epitaph for Wang Shilian in Regular Script; signed Huang Daozhou, dated jiaxu (1634) of the Chongzhen reign, the tenth lunar month, with four seals of the artist, shi zhai, shi zhai, zi qu dao, shi zhou, and two others illegible. With two collectors' seals, ceng wei zhi yu zhi shan zhai suo you, qian; ink on paper, handscroll, 29 by 238 cm. 11 3/8  by 93 3/4  in. Estimate $60,000 — 80,000Photo: Sotheby's.

LiteratureJiang Zhaoshen (ed.), Calligraphy of Ming and Qing MastersVol. 2, Tokyo: Nigensha, 1987, pp. 4-5, 10-25

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Kuncan (1612-After 1674), Recluse in the Deep White Clouds; signed Dianzhu Canzhe, dated jiyou, the sixteenth day of the eighth lunar month (September 10, 1669), with five seals of the artist, jie, qiu, dian zhu lao ren, kun can dao zhe, da jie tang zi wan shu hua yin ji. With two collector's seals of Shen Yuangong (20th Century), yuan gong yan fu, yuan wu ban sheng jing li suo ju, and one other collector's seal, jin chun jiang shen ding zhang; ink and color on paper, hanging scroll, 113.1 by 32.5 cm. 44 1/2  by 12 3/4  in. Estimate $200,000 — 250,000Photo: Sotheby's.

NoteOwner received directly from Zhang Xueliang in the 1990's.

Saturday at Sotheby’s: Asian Art 
19 March 2016, 10am & 2pm 
Sotheby’s Asia Week New York auctions wrap up on the 19th with Saturday at Sotheby’s: Asian Art. The March 2016 edition, exhibited in a space designed by the architect David Ling, includes pieces from the Collection of A. Alfred Taubman and the Weatherspoon Museum of Art, as well as property from across the Asian continent, from China to Korea, India and Southeast Asia to Japan. One of the highlights from this sale is A Large Cloisonné Enamel Baluster Form Vase from the Qing Dynasty. Formerly in the Ian G. Smith Collection, this 19th Century vase is expected to fetch $20/30,000. 

533N09481_8QLTC (Saturday, A Large Cloisonne Enamel Baluster Form Vase)

A Large Cloisonné Enamel Baluster Form Vase, Qing Dynasty, 19th centuryEstimate $20,000 — 30,000Photo: Sotheby's.

supported on a tall splayed foot, the ovoid body rising to a flaring trumpet neck flanked by large gilt-bronzechilong-form handles, the body enameled in green, yellow, white, red, blue and pink with four shaped medallions enclosing leafy chrysanthemum blooms amidst rockwork, reserved against pairs of lotus blooms and bats centering on stylized shou characters, all between ruyi-head borders, the neck with scrolling lotus between bands of stiff leaves, repeated around the foot, all on a turquoise ground. Height 26 3/8  in., 67 cm

ProvenanceAcquired in Canada in the 1970s.

S|2 
Liu Dan: Transitions 
The Literati Within 
10-20 March 2016 
In addition to our seven sales, Sotheby’s will host two selling exhibitions, Liu Dan: Transitions and The Literati Within. The first of these S|2 shows is a retrospective of Liu Dan’s work, beginning with works from his visit to the Dunhuang caves in the late 1970s, transitioning into self-portraits and Hawaiian landscapes from the 1980s, and culminating with his iconic flower and rock studies from his New York years. The Literati Within builds upon Shuimo shows of years past, bringing together fifteen artists from Asia, Europe and the United States who express the spirit of the literati scholar in ink paintings, drawings, sculpture and photography. The result is a stimulating conversation between past and present, and among contemporary Western and Chinese artists with a striking shared aesthetic sensibility.

Liu Dan Sunflower

Liu Dan, b.1953, Sunflower, signed with one seal of the artist, ink on paper, 56 x 40 1/2  in., 2002Photo: Sotheby's.