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Phyllis and Walter Shorenstein.

The Chinese works of art in the collection of Walter and Phyllis Shorenstein are spectacular in their beauty, technical excellence and historical importance. Following the recent and immense success of Treasures From the Shorenstein Collection, including important glass, imperial porcelain and fine jades sold in our Hong Kong rooms, Christie's New York is pleased to offer ancient bronzes, early ceramics and sculpture, jade carvings, and the very rare and important 12th century Yunnanese gilt-bronze figure of Acouye Guanyin (lot 1294) from this most prestigious collection.

The Shorenstein's home was a testament to their passion for beautiful and rare objects, where, in addition to the works of art on the walls and display shelves, guests would encounter the world-record setting exquisite porcelain moonflask with underglaze blue and overglaze rose enamel decoration next to a superb pink glass vase, or the magnificent molded and carved ruby glass ewer next to the rare Yunnanese gilt-bronze figure of Acouye Guanyin, placed on pieces of fine European furniture. Christie's colleagues also recall a delightful dinner in the garden of the Shorenstein's Portola Valley home during which Mr. Shorenstein had to excuse himself to take a telephone call from former president Jimmy Carter, and on returning to the table immediately rejoined the lively conversation on Chinese art.

Phyllis Shorenstein was a passionate collector of Chinese glass, and amassed a superb collection with the scholarly help of the late Dr. Clarence Shangraw. Mrs. Shorenstein once mentioned to Dr. Shangraw that the glass in her cabinets reminded her of 'a chorus line of color' - a wonderfully evocative phrase, which was adapted to provide the name for an exhibition of glass, from three of America's top collections, held at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in 1995. The catalogue of this exhibition was dedicated to Phyllis Shorenstein's memory, and the dedication noted that: 'She championed excellence in Asian Art'. This pursuit of excellence shines through in Walter and Phyllis Shorentein's collection of Chinese Art.

A blue and white ovoid jar and cover, Transitional period, Chongzhen  (1628-1644) 

Lot 1681. A blue and white ovoid jar and cover, Transitional period, Chongzhen (1628-1644); 11 in. (28 cm.) high. Estimate USD 20,000 - USD 30,000. Price realised USD 92,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011

Well painted with a messenger delivering a gift to a court dignitary, the messenger's horse held to one side, while a group of soldiers stands to the other side, between incised foliate borders, the neck encircled by flower sprays, the domed cover painted with a female immortal seated on a leaf floating in a river

Provenance: Eugene O. Perkins Collection; Christie's, New York, 2 June 1989, lot 21.
The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

A small blue and white ovoid jar, Transitional period, circa 1640-1645

Lot 1682. A small blue and white ovoid jar, Transitional period, circa 1640-1645; 6¾ in. (17.1 cm.) highEstimate USD 8,000 - USD 12,000. Price realised USD 15,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011

Well painted on one side with Zhang Qian floating down the Yangzi River on a tree, the legendary Han dynasty explorer shown holding a fan as his double gourd flask swings from one of the branches, with a waterfall, rocks and clouds on the reverse, between incised line borders

Provenance: Spink & Son, London, April 1989.
The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

NoteZhang Qian was a Han dynasty imperial envoy and traveler. He is more usually seen depicted on rhinoceros horn 'log-raft' cups, of Kangxi date, such as the example sold in these rooms 16-17 September 2010, lot 1300. The rhinoceros horn cups are thought to have been inspired by earlier silver prototypes such as the one in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, dated to the 14th century and another formerly in the collection of Sir Percival David and now in the Cleveland Museum of Art, dated to the Ming dynasty, probably 16th century. Both of these are illustrated by J. Chapman in The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 263, nos. 382 and 283, respectively. It is rare to find this subject as decoration on porcelain. 

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Lot 1683. A rare pair of blue and white weiqi counter boxes and covers, Transitional period, circa 1645-1655; 4½ in. (11.5 cm.) across. Estimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000. Price realised USD 662,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011

Cf. my post: A rare pair of blue and white weiqi counter boxes and covers, Transitional period, circa 1645-1655

A small pale greyish-green jade archaistic vase, Song-Ming dynasty, 13th) -15th century

 Lot 1684. A small pale greyish-green jade archaistic vase, Song-Ming dynasty, 13th-15th century; 4½ in. (11.4 cm.) high. Estimate USD 6,000 - USD 8,000. Price realised USD 13,750. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011

Of oval section and pear shape, raised on a tall foot encircled by two narrow raised bands, the body carved in raised thread relief with a pendent petal frieze below a band of archaistic scrolls interrupted by a pair of animal mask handles, the flared upper neck carved with four upright blades filled with angular scrolls, the stone semi-translucent and with some brown fissures and opaque mottling, wood stand.

Provenance: Spink & Son Ltd., London, 1976.
The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

Note: The unusual petal frieze on the body of this vase is similar to that seen on a small cup, raised on a similar tall foot encircled by two narrow plain bands, in the collection of Desmond Gure, included in the O.C.S. exhibition, The Arts of the Sung Dynasty, London, 16 June - 23 July 1960, pl. 87, no. 288. A jade archaistic vase of comparable size and shape, with elephant head rather than animal head handles, also in the Gure Collection, included in the same exhibition, pl. 87, no. 282, has a similar foot, but the bands are rope twist rather than plain. The petal frieze can also been seen on an archaistic jade pouring vessel, dated 13th-15th century, included in the O.C.S. exhibition, Chinese Jade throughout the ages, London, 1 May - 22 June 1975, p. 97, no. 311. 

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Lot 1685. A pale greenish-white jade goose-form waterpot, 18th-19th century; 4¾ in. (12 cm.) longEstimate USD 4,000 - USD 6,000. Price realised USD 30,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011

Shown standing with a lotus stem and grasses grasped in its beak, the wings carved with feathers and swept up either side of the circular opening in the back, the stone of pale celadon color with areas of added russet color, wood stand.

Provenance: Jade House, Hong Kong, 1981.
The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

An underglaze blue and copper-red-decorated celadon-ground baluster vase, Kangxi period (1662-1722)

Lot 1688. An underglaze blue and copper-red-decorated celadon-ground baluster vase, Kangxi period (1662-1722)16¾ in. (42.5 cm.) highEstimate USD 30,000 - USD 50,000. Price realised USD 35,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

With a bow-string band encircling the neck, the body decorated in low relief in white slip and underglaze blue of bright tone on one side with a prunus tree growing behind a pierced rock, with birds perched in some of the branches while others are in flight above, a rose highlighted in copper red growing beside the rock, all reserved on a celadon ground, the rims and interior glazed white, with a double circle on the base.

Provenance: H.M. Knight Collection.
Eugene O. Perkins Collection; Christie's, New York, 2 June 1989, lot 26.
The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

LiteratureM. Beurdeley and G. Raindre, Qing Porcelain, London, 1986, p. 61, pl. 64.

ExhibitedS. Marchant and Son, London, Chinese Blue and White, Wan Li to Kang Hsi, London, 1981, no. 25. 

NoteA similar vase is illustrated by S. Jenyns, Later Chinese Porcelain, London, 1951, pl. XXI (2).

A small white jade figure of a frog , 18th-19th century

Lot 1687. A small white jade figure of a frog , 18th-19th century; 2 5/8 in. (6.6 cm.) across. Estimate USD 3,000 - USD 5,000. Price realised USD 10,625. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011

Carved in a seated position with right rear leg slightly extended, the other feet tucked under the body, the stone of pale greenish-white color.

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

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Lot 1688. Two small pale greenish-white jade carvings, 18th-19th century; 2 3/8 and 2 in. (6 and 5.1 cm.) acrossEstimate USD 5,000 - USD 7,000. Price realised USD 5,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

One carved as three plump loquats borne on a leafy branch, with a bird perched on the branch to one side, two of the fruit highlighted by pale brown coloring in the stone; the other carved as two larger and two smaller mushrooms, with a stem of lingzhi carved along one edge, with some russet color, wood stands.

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

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 Lot 1689. A small pale greyish-green jade carving of two boys and a drum, 17th-18th century; 3 in. (7.6 cm.) across, wood standEstimate USD 5,000 - USD 7,000. Price realised USD 5,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

Carved in the round as two boys flanking a large circular drum as they strike it with drum sticks, the reverse of the drum incised with four characters, taiping ren rui (great peace brings happiness), the stone with some russet markings, wood stand.

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

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Lot 1691. A white jade archaistic dragon-form pouring vessel; 5¾ in. (14.6 cm.) long. Estimate USD 12,000 - USD 18,000. Price realised USD 16,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

 Raised on an oval foot and carved as an archaistic version of an earlier bronze ewer shape, guang, the dragon head carved at one end serving as the handle of the pouring vessel, with flanges projecting from the chest, wings terminating in openwork curved tips on the sides, and curled tail feathers, the opening in the back fitted with a cover made in imitation of that of an archaic bronze guang with dragon-scroll handle, the semi-translucent stone of even pale greenish-white color, wood stand.

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

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Lot 1692. A white jade two-part belt buckle, 18th-19th century; 3¾ in. (9.5 cm.) long. Estimate USD 6,000 - USD 8,000. Price realised USD 16,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

Each half with a square plaque at one end carved in low relief with part of a continuous scene of a dragon pursuing a flaming pearl amidst clouds, the half with the dragon with a rectangular bar with an oval loop at the end that slides into the openwork loop of the other half, the stone of pale greenish-white color.

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

A three-color jadeite double-gourd brush washer

Lot 1694. A white jade two-part belt buckle, 18th-19th century; 7¼ in. (18.5 cm.) long. Estimate USD 1,500 - USD 2,500. Price realised USD 2,750. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

Carved in the shape of two double gourds with shallow sides borne on a leafy vine that joins them, one gourd with a small double gourd and leaf carved from a green mottled area of the stone, with a flower at the end of the other gourd, the whitish stone with areas of green mottling and russet color.

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

A pale greenish-grey jade bowl, cover and stand 

Lot 1695. A pale greenish-grey jade bowl, cover and stand; 7 7/8 in. (20 cm.) across handles. Estimate USD 15,000 - USD 20,000. Price realised USD 50,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

Thinly carved, the shallow bowl raised on four openwork flower-form supports, with plain sides below an everted rim from which project two dragon and foliate scroll handles suspending loose rings, the domed cover carved in low relief with a band of archaistic dragon scroll between raised line borders below the similarly decorated knop, the whole raised on an openwork jade stand carved as conjoined stems of lingzhi, the semi-translucent stone of even tone.

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

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Lot 1696. A large greenish-white jade garment hook; 18th-19th century; 5½ in. (14 cm.) long. Estimate USD 3,000 - USD 5,000. Price realised USD 5,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

The wide, curved shaft well carved in openwork on top with a chilong crawling amidst the trailing, leafy stem of lingzhi clasped in its mouth as it faces the dragon-head hook, with a large circular button on the underside, the stone of pale celadon color.

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

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Lot 1697. A spinach-green jade marriage bowl; 10 7/8 in. (27.5 cm.) across handles. Estimate USD 15,000 - USD 20,000. Price realised USD 92,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011. 

With rounded sides raised on four shallow feet, the center of the interior carved in high relief with a scrolling leafy stem bearing large hibiscus flowers, the design repeated as a frieze on the exterior below the pair of butterfly handles suspending loose rings, the mottled green stone semi-translucent, wood stand. 

ProvenanceJade House, Hong Kong.
The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

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Lot 1698. Two jade pebble snuff bottles, 1750-1850; 2 3/8 and 2¾ in. (6 and 7 cm.) high. Estimate USD 6,000 - USD 8,000. Price realised USD 56,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011. 

Both of irregular form, one white with russet markings, the other primarily of dark russet-brown color, silver stopper and spoon, both well polished.  

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

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Lot 1699. A white and russet jade thumb ring, 18th-19th century; 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm.) acrossEstimate USD 3,000 - USD 5,000. Price realised USD 25,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.  

The slightly irregular top retaining some russet skin, the white stone of even color, well polished, wood stand

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

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Lot 1701. A small grey and blackish-brown jade bird-form finial, Ming dynasty (1368-1644); 3¾ and 4 in. (9.5 and 10.2 cm.) long. Estimate USD 4,000 - USD 6,000. Price realised USD 12,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.  

Shown seated with head turned very slightly to the right, with two long crest feathers trailing from the back of the head, and long tail feathers, with a small hole on one side above the shaped aperture on the underside; together with a white and dark brown jade figure of a recumbent mythical beast, with open mouth, single horn and tripartite tail, wood stand.   

The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

A fine turquoise-enameled bowl, Jiaqing seal mark in iron red and of the period (1796-1820)

Lot 1702. A fine turquoise-enameled bowl, Jiaqing seal mark in iron red and of the period (1796-1820); 4 3/8 in. (11.2 cm.) diam. Estimate USD 15,000 - USD 18,000. Price realised USD 92,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011. 

With flared rounded sides, the exterior covered in rich turquoise enamel in contrast to the white interior

ProvenanceThe Jingguantang Collection Part II; Christie's, New York, 20 March 1997, lot 98.
The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

NoteA pair of similar bowls of the same size and with the same mark, from the E.T. Hall Collection, was sold in our London rooms, 7 June 2004, lot 188. 

A famille rose bowl, Qianlong seal mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1723-1736)

Lot 1703. A famille rose bowl, Qianlong seal mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1723-1736); 4 5/16 in. (11 cm.) diam. Estimate USD 10,000 - USD 15,000. Price realised USD 35,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011. 

The deep sides flaring towards the slightly everted rim, the exterior well painted with fruiting and flowering melon vine and bamboo which continue over the rim into the interior, the ripe melons bursting open to expose the seeds, with a pink butterfly fluttering around the vine on the exterior and interior, wood stand

Provenance: Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 1987, lot 191.
The Walter and Phyllis Shorentein collection.

Note: A pair of similar Qianlong-marked bowls is in the Percival David Foundation, one illustrated by Lady David, Illustrated Catalogue of Ch'ing Enamelled Ware, 1973, no. 897, the other (no. 898) in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, vol. 6, Tokyo/New York/San Francisco, 1982, no. 274; and another in the Musée Guimet, Paris, is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, vol. 7, 1981, col. pl. 91

Lot 1704. A large doucai jardinière, Qianlong period (1736-1795); 13 in. (33 cm.) across. Estimate USD 30,000 - USD 50,000. Price realised USD 842,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

Cf. my post: A large doucai jardinière, Qianlong period (1736-1795)

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part I and Part II Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, , New York, 24 March 2011.