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NEW YORK, NY.- On September 9 and 11, Bonhams will offer four Asian art sales — Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles, Chinese Works of Art, Property from the Collection of Drs. Edmund and Julie Lewis Part I, and Fine Japanese and Korean Art. The sales present 700 lots of quality and rarity that span centuries ranging from sculpture, ceramics, prints, paintings, among others. Public exhibitions begin September 5. In conjunction with the sales, Bonhams will also host a day of lectures on September 7 and 9, featuring guest speakers and prominent scholars. 

Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles - September 9 at 10AM 
The sale of Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles features over 150 exquisite bottles in a wide range of materials, including jade, glass, agate, porcelain, and amber. Highlights include a white jade 'Mallow Blossom' snuff bottle, Qianlong period, 1736-1795 (estimate: $10,000-15,000); an embellished celadon jade snuff bottle, the bottle: 1780-1850, embellishment: Tsuda family, Kyoto, Japan, 20th century (estimate: $8,000-12,000); and a faceted blue jadeite snuff bottle, 1780-1880 (estimate: $8,000-12,000). This superbly cut bottle belongs to a group of several extant bottles of blue jadeite and in this form that were made at the Imperial Palace Workshops. This bottle was treasured by Bob Stevens, appearing as one of the Favorites Among the Favored in his classic 1976 overview The Collector’s Book of Snuff Bottles. 

 

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Lot 218. A white jade 'Mallow Blossom' snuff bottle, Qianlong period, 1736-1795; 2 1/4in (5.6cm) high. Estimate US$ 10,000 - 15,000 (€ 9,000 - 14,000). Courtesy Bonhams.

Well-hollowed, the shape of the bottle carved in the outline of a mallow blossom, each main face lightly carved to depict an open bloom with six curled overlapping petals radiating from a circular flower heart, surmounted by a short tubular neck with a flat lip, the stone an even white color. 

ProvenanceA Private Canadian collection formed prior to 1955
Sotheby's, New York, Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, 17 March 1997, lot 273.

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Lot 194. An embellished celadon jade snuff bottle, the bottle: 1780-1850, embellishment: Tsuda family, Kyoto, Japan, 20th century; 2in (5.2cm) high. Estimate US$ 8,000 - 12,000 (€ 7,200 - 11,000). Courtesy Bonhams.

Of square section, tapering gently towards the base, surmounted by a cylindrical neck with a concave lip, each side with a raised panel of conforming shape overlaid with hardstone, one panel decorated with a lady fanning herself in a garden, revered by an attendant carrying a basket of peaches, the other two panels decorated with birds swooping towards blossoming plants growing from rock work, the details picked out in pigments and accented with red and green lacquer.

ProvenanceCollection of Thomas C. Van Nuys 
Collection of Bob C. Stevens 
Sotheby's Parke Bernet, Fine and Important Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Bob C. Stevens, Part III 25 June 1982 lot 203
Collection of Eric Young 
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, Important Chinese Snuff Bottles from the collection of Eric Young, Part IV 28 October 1993 lot 1179
Sotheby's, New York, Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art 17 October 2001 lot 248.

PublishedBob C. Stevens, The Collector's Book of Snuff Bottles, New York, 1976, no. 815

NoteFor a discussion of Tsuda family embellished bottles, refer to Bob C. Stevens op. cit. pp. 222-224.

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Lot 193. faceted blue jadeite snuff bottle, Imperial, Palace Workshops, Beijing, 1750-1830; 2 1/8in (5.3cm) highEstimate US$ 8,000 - 12,000 (7,200 - 11,000). Courtesy Bonhams.

Well-hollowed, with a decagonal outline, surmounted by a short tubular neck and supported on a flat foot, the two main sides crisply carved with a flowerhead with faceted petals radiating from a circular center, the stone of semi-translucent blue-gray color with icy-white inclusions.

ProvenanceBob C. Stevens
Sotheby's, Honolulu, Fine and Important Chinese Snuff Bottles from the collection of Bob C. Stevens, Part I, 7 November 1981, lot 123
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, Important Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Eric Young, Part IV, 28 October 1993, lot 1222
Sotheby's, New York, Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 17 October 2001, lot 263.

PublishedBob C. Stevens, The Collectors Book of Snuff Bottles, New York, 1976, no. 1009.

Published and ExhibitedMikimoto Hall, Tokyo, October 1978, Catalogue, no. 167.

Note: This superbly cut blue jadeite bottle belongs to a group of several extant bottles in this form that were made at the Palace Workshops. The technique of faceting was introduced to Chinese Imperial craftsman by the Jesuits, and the overlapping radiating cuts recall the chrysanthemum flower. This profile also appears in bottles fashioned from glass, crystal, and agate, but the majority of extant bottles in jadeite share the pale blue color of the present example. 

This bottle was treasured by Bob Stevens, appearing as one of the Favorites Among the Favored in his classic 1976 overview The Collector's Book of Snuff Bottles. This bottle was later in the collection of Eric Young, offered with two others from this exclusive group in 1993. A fourth bottle in the Joe Grimberg collection was sold at Sotheby's New York 14 September 2010

Chinese Works of Art - September 9 at 1PM 
The sale of Chinese Works of Art includes 140 lots, representing works from a variety of collecting categories including sculpture, ceramics, paintings, jade carvings, and furniture. Leading the sale is a carved wood figure of a Bodhisattva, Song/Jin dynasty, measuring over four feet tall (estimate: $125,000-200,000) and a fine and rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of guanyin, 10th/11th century (estimate: $50,000-70,000) from the collection of Drs. Edmund and Julie Lewis. Additional highlights include Pine and Cicada, a hanging scroll by Qi Baishi (1864-1957) (estimate: $80,000-120,000); a fine huanghuali ‘Southern Official's Hat’ armchair, nanguanmaoyi, 17th/18th century (estimate: $60,000-80,000); and a rare pair of famille rose enameled chicken cups, Yongzheng marks and of the period (estimate: $40,000-60,000). 

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Lot 853. A carved wood figure of a Bodhisattva, Song-Jin dynasty (960-1234); 48 1/2in (123cm) high. Estimate US$ 8,000 - 12,000 (€ 7,200 - 11,000). Courtesy Bonhams.

The deity portrayed in the relaxed posture of lalitasana with the left leg pendant and the right arm gracefully resting atop the bent right knee, the left arm straight and appearing to support the weight of the figure to the left, the serene face with fleshy cheeks flanking the straight nose and well-formed lips, beneath a pair of downcast eyes, the forehead with a circular depression meant to receive an inlaid urna, the hair divided into strands, with two knotted strands falling over the shoulders and the remainder swept up and secured into a tall topknot, the soft, fleshy upper body bare except for a long sash draped over the left shoulder, the layered dhoti tied at the waist falling in graceful folds around the lower body, the figure adorned with necklace, armbands, bracelets and beaded chains, the back of the figure cut with a rectangular chamber to hold consecrated materials, the surfaces with traces of pigments. 

Provenance: Sotheby's New York, 22 September 2004, lot 32.

Note: The bodhisattva represented by the present figure is likely a representation of Guanyin. An identifying characteristic of Guanyin is the figure of Amitabha that appears in the bodhisattva's headdress. In this case the removable headdress is missing, but there are extant Song dynasty Guanyin figures with intact headdresses in similar poses, such as the examples illustrated in Angela Falco Howard, Li Song, et. al., Chinese Sculpture, Yale Univeristy Press, 2006, pp. 384-385, nos. 4.26 and 4.27. 

According to the Lotus Sutra Guanyin can take any form necessary to save sentient beings. Thirty-three forms are mentioned, of which seven are female. The name Guanyin is a translation of the Sanskrit name Avalokiteśvara, and the bodhisattva was originally depicted in male form, as in the present example, where the figure is dressed essentially in the attire of a male Brahmin, a throwback to Buddhism's Indian origins. The figure's sensual curves however, evoke a distinctly feminine feel, and by the Ming dynasty, Guanyin was usually depicted in a feminine form.

Guanyin images seated in the relaxed position of royal ease are referred to zizai Guanyin, literally meaning Guanyin at ease. When such figures are placed in a grotto or seated on a rocky platform, they reference the Water Moon Guanyin, who sits by the water's edge contemplating the reflection of the moon in the water and recognizing the illusory nature of all phenomena, gently smiles at the humans, who grasp for the reflection of the moon mistaking it for reality. 

A similar figure of Guanyin is in the collection of the British Museum, London, and illustrated in Hai-wai yi-chen: Buddhist Sculpture I, Taipei, 1986; and another similar figure in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is illustrated by Denise Patry Leidy and Donna Strahan, Wisdom Embodied, New York, 2010, p. 180, no. A44; pl. 133. Like the present lot, the example in the Metropolitan Museum which is dated Northern Song dynasty, is of almost the same size and has a similar necklace, armbands, bracelets, attire and facial expression.

A similarly-posed wood Guanyin from the Song dynasty was offered at Christie's Hong Kong, 31 May 2010, lot 1957.

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Lot 849. A fine and rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin, 10th-11th century; 8 1/8in (20.7cm) high. Estimate US$ 8,000 - 12,000 (€ 7,200 - 11,000). Courtesy Bonhams.

Cast with a gentle, contemplative expression, the hair worn in a topknot with knotted tresses falling over the shoulders, seated in rajalalitasana with right arm resting on the raised right knee, the left hand resting on the level surface to arm support the weight, wearing a sash tied across the left shoulder and a long dhoti secured by a sash around the waist, adorned with floral earrings, elaborate necklace, and beaded armbands.

Provenance: Giselle Croes, 6 September 2006
Collection van Tieghem.

Note: Bodhisattvas seated in the posture of 'royal ease' with right leg raised and left leg extended in front, depicting the "water-moon shuiyue guanyin also referred to as a Potala guanyin first appeared in paintings in China during the late Tang dynasty, and reached the height of popularity in sculpture in the Song period. See Denise Leidy's discussion of the Metropolitan Museum's Shuiyue Guanyin (28.56, Flectcher Fund, 1928) in Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011, no. 24 pp. 116-119. 

The slender form and sumptuous garments of the Lewis guanyin find parallels in the diminutive wood Cleveland Museum of Art Potala guanyin, dated to the Five Dynasties (907-960) period (1965.556, Gift of Mrs. A Dean Perry). See also a small gilt bronze Water and Moon (Potala) Guanyin in Cleveland (1984.7, the Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund), dated to the Five Dynasties-Song period (960-1279), 17.6cm (6 5/16cm). A Liao-Jin dynasty example of a wood figure in the same pose and attire was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 May 2018, lot 2858. A Song-Yuan dynasty gilt-lacquered bronze figure in the same pose was sold at Sotheby's New York, 16 September 2017, lot 874

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 Lot 920. Qi Baishi (1864-1957), Pine and Cicada. Hanging scroll, ink and light color on paper, inscribed by the artist in seal script Ju gao sheng zi yuan, followed by a signature Jipingtangshang laoren, Qi Baishi, with one seal of the artist reading Qi Da. 52 x 13 3/8in (132 x 40cm). Estimate US$ 80,000 - 120,000 (€ 72,000 - 110,000). Courtesy Bonhams.

Provenance: Far East Fine Arts, San Francisco, California
Christie's Hong Kong, 13 January 1986, lot 113.

Published: Tsao Jungying, The Paintings of Xugu and Qi Baishi, San Francisco, 1993, pp. 295-298.

Note: The cicada has been a longstanding motif in Chinese art, with its unusually long life cycle evoking ideals of permanence and longevity. Carved jade models of cicada can be traced to the Shang dynasty (1600-1100 b.c.e.), and during the Han dynasty jade cicada-form amulets were placed under the tongue of the deceased as part of the burial ritual. In nature, the cicada lives at the tops of trees, and thus became a symbol of the lofty scholar or high official. 

In this scroll, Qi Baishi pairs a single cicada with a pine-- also a symbol of longevity due to its evergreen qualities. The composition recalls the verse Cicada 蟬 by the early Tang dynasty poet and calligrapher Yu Shinan (558-638) 

"居高聲自遠 From its high position, its sound carries far" 

here written by Qi Baishi in seal script. The powerful brushwork of the poetic inscription and the pine branches contrasts with the delicately rendered cicada, its gossamer wings and anatomical details meticulously captured.

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Lot 890. A fine huanghuali ‘Southern Official's Hat’ armchair, nanguanmaoyi, 17th-18th century; 48 1/2in (123.3cm) high; the seat frame 25 x 19 1/2in (63.5 x 49.5cm). Estimate US$60,000-80,000 (€ 54,000 - 72,000)Courtesy Bonhams.

The elegant arched crest rail joined to a thick, curved back splat and set off by curved stiles accented by beaded spandrels and run through the seat as the back supports, the well-set arm rests and curved posts continuing to the finely curved front legs set with further brackets over the seat frame and beaded aprons and foot rest, the boxed stretchers butted to u-shaped lower aprons, the thick wood of the chair a rich, honey tone and well figured.

Note: Constructed of thick, lush, well-figured wood, this rare chair has the distinction of having paired spandrels under the crest rail and arms, unusual for a nanguanmaoyi. See a comparable chair sold at Christie's New York, September 16 2016, lot 1202, and a pair of chairs sold at Sotheby's New York, 16, November 2009, lot 20. See also Sarah Handler, Ming Furniture in the Light of Chinese Architecture, Berkeley, 2005, p. 117

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Lot 864. Two rare famille rose enameled chicken cups, Yongzheng marks and of the period (1723-1735); 3 3/8in (8.5cm) diameter. Estimate US$ 40,000 - 60,000 (36,000 - 54,000). Courtesy Bonhams.

Each with flared sides rising from a flat well, finely painted to the exterior with three majestic cockerels, each with differently colored plumage, scratching and pecking at the ground amid tufts of grass, beside pierced blue rockwork in front of chrysanthemums and peonies with large blossoms and buds, the foot inscribed in underglaze blue with the six-character mark enclosed within a double-circle, one cup with a bat painted on the interior just below the rim.

 Provenance: Virginia Hobart (1876-1958), and thence by descent.

Note: As is de rigeur for Chinese decorative arts, the subject matter of roosters and flowers satisfies the requirement of being auspicious. Refer to Terese Bartholomew Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art (San Francisco: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2006) 6.34.11, p. 157, where the author notes that the motif of peony (fuguihua) and rooster (gongji) forms a rebus meaning 'May you be conferred official rank and gain prosperity' (gongming fugui). 

Other than the usual wishes for good fortune however, in the present lot the choice of subject would also have hearkened back to the doucai chicken cup of the Ming Chenghua era. Held then and now as the one of the high points of technical mastery, this was a benchmark for the potters at Jingdezhen against which they could prove their skills for a very, very exacting imperial patron. The present lot however is not a slavish imitation of the doucai prototype but rather a variation on a theme, displaying a slightly varied wine cup shape with decoration fastidiously rendered in a sharply focused fencai rather then in a gauzy doucai. For another Yongzheng iteration inspired by Ming chicken cup prototypes, see the pair from the Meiyintang collection, Sotheby's Hong Kong, 9 October 2012, lot 51: as noted there, that pair also shows slight variations in shape and choices of execution but clearly were also produced to conform to exacting Yongzheng imperial standards

Property from the Collection of Drs. Edmund and Julie Lewis, Part I - September 11 at 10AM 
Among the highlights of the week is Property from the Collection of Drs. Edmund and Julie Lewis Part I, a 115-lot sale which is highlighted by a rare and important gilt bronze figure of Chijang Bosal (Ksitigarbha), Goryeo dynasty (918-1392), 13th/14th century (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000). Sculptural representations of Ksitigarbha are commonly found in Japanese art but are extremely rare in Korea; only one other Goryeo-dynasty Korean bronze figure of the deity is known in a Japanese private collection. Additional highlights in the collection include a seated wood figure of Nyoirin Kannon, Kamakura period (1185-1333), 13th/14th century (estimate: $18,000-25,000); Ryu chi ryu (Dragon knows dragon), 1967, a large four-panel screen by Morita Shiryu (1912-1998, estimate: $60,000-80,000); and Landscape II (2000), and a ceramic sculpture by Fukami Sueharu (1947) Heisei era (1989-2019, estimate: $50,000-70,000). 

 Cf. my post: Bonhams to offer the collection of Drs. Edmund and Julie Lewis 

Fine Japanese and Korean Art- September 11 at 1PM 
Following the Collection of Drs. Edmund and Julie Lewis Part I, Bonhams will offer a large range of nearly 300 Japanese and Korean works of art dating from the 16th to the 20th century. The sale of consists of screens, ceramics, paintings, prints, armor and metalwork. Among the Japanese art highlights is the celebrated print of Kanagawa-oki nami-ura (Under the Wave off Kanagawa, but best known by its popular name “The Great Wave”) by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) Edo period (1615-1868), circa 1830-1831 (estimate: $200,000-300,000). Among an impressive selection of works from the Meiji era are a large and rare Satsuma vase by Sozan for the Kinkozan workshop (estimate: $18,000-25,000), a large and boldly decorated circular bronze plaque with peonies and butterflies by Ippo (estimate: $10,000-15,000), and a fine and large inlaid-iron tray, Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th century, Komai Company, circa 1880 (estimate: $20,000-30,000). The Korean art highlights include a painting of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the Ten Directions, Joseon dynasty (1392-1897), dated 1699 (estimate: $40,000-50,000); a glazed porcelain moon jar (dal hang-ari), Joseon dynasty, 18th century (estimate: $20,000-30,000); and a mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquer storage chest, Joseon dynasty (1392-1897), 19th or early 20th century (estimate: $10,000-15,000).

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 Lot 715. Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) Edo period (1615-1868), circa 1830-1831. An oban yoko-e print entitled Kanagawa-oki nami-ura (Under the Wave off Kanagawa), from the series Fugaku sanjurokkei (36 Views of Mount Fuji), signed Hokusai aratame Iitsu hitsu; 9 3/4 x 14 1/2in (24.2 x 36.8cm). Estimate: $200,000 - 300,000. Photo: Bonhams.

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Lot 881. Sozan for the Kinkozan workshop (circa 1900). A large and fine Satsuma vase, Meiji era (1868-1912), early 20th century; 15 3/4in (40cm) high. Estimate: $18,000-25,000. Photo: Bonhams.

The tall cylindrical vase tapering to the foot and decorated in polychrome enamels and gilt with areas of moriage, with two large panels, the obverse painted with numerous species of birds flocking to an ancient pine tree by a pond before a thatched-roof cottage, the reverse with visitors before the main gate of a temple, the various buildings surrounded by distant mountains and mist, the panels signed Sozan and Sozan ga, the surrounding area decorated with ferns on a ground of rich chocolate brown, the sides with rectangular panels of trailing wisteria on a navy ground, the rim decorated with tightly scrolling chrysanthemum scroll, signed on the underside in overlapping card-poem reserves surrounded with blossoming peonies Dai Nihon Kyoto Awata Kinkozan tsukuru Sozan (Made by Kinkozan of Awata in Kyoto, Great Japan, [painted by] Sozan).

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Lot 914. Ippo (active late 19th century), A large and impressive inlaid bronze plaque, Meiji era (186-1912), late 19th century; 17 3/4in (45.1cm) diameter. Estimate: $10,000 - 15,000. Photo: Bonhams.

Cast in bronze with a low ring foot and decorated with a bold, highrelief design of butterflies alighting on peonies, the flowers inlaid in two shades of copper, gold, shakudo and shibuichi takazogan the details of the petals carved in kebori, some of the leaves in shishiaibori and pitted to resemble the naturalistic texture of insect damage and several of the leaves finished in an ishime texture, the butterflies decorated in polished gold and shakudo takazogan with kebori details, signed Ippo in copper inlay and with a gold seal Ippo.

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Lot 921. Komai Company, circa 1880, A fine and large inlaid-iron tray, Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th century; 15 x 19 7/8in (38 x 50.3cm). Estimate: $20,000 - 30,000. Photo: Bonhams.

The rectangular tray barbed on the sides and lobed at the corners and richly decorated in high-relief gold, silver, shakudo and shibuichi, and gold and silver nunomezogan with two shaped central panels featuring a Chinese sage playing a stringed instrument while two children peer at him through a curtained window, the rim with leafy vines and grapes, the ground with shaped reserves of landscapes, butterflies and fans, brocade balls, and textiles, all against a ground of floral lozenges, the undecorated base signed in gold nunomezogan within a silver rectangular reserve Kyoto no ju Komai sei (made by Komai of Kyoto).

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Lot 1000. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the Ten Directions, Joseon dynasty (1392-1897), dated 1699. Painted in ink, color and gold on silk with five of the 10 buddhas and bodhisattvas the ten directions among clouds, inscribed in the top left and right 十方諸佛 十方 여러 부처 Sibbang yeoleo bucheo (Buddhas of the 10 directions) and 十地菩薩 십지 보살 Sibji bosal (Bodhisattvas of the 10 directions), with a Kangxi reign date 康熙三十八年十月吉日 강희 팔년 시월 길일 Ganghui palnyeon siwol gil-il (An auspicious day in October 1699) and with a list of donors. Estimate: $40,000 - 60,000. Photo: Bonhams.

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Lot 898. glazed porcelain moon jar (dal hang-ari), Joseon dynasty, 18th century; 12 5/8in (32cm) high. Estimate: $20,000 - 30,000. Photo: Bonhams.

Thickly potted with a rounded lip to the flared neck, a full globular body that slumps slightly to one side and a flared foot ring surrounding the recessed base, the clear glaze showing a very pale blue-green cast with some patches of pale russet burn and covering all surfaces except the foot pad.

Provenance: Property from the Estate of Professor Donald Howard Shively (1921-2005), purchased in Seoul around 1965, by repute.

Donald Howard Shively (1921-2005)

founder of Japanese literary and historical studies in the United States, Shively served for over forty years on the faculties of UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Harvard. He served, too, as Director of Harvard’s Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies; a member of the National Commission for UNESCO; Chair of the U.S. delegation to the Commission for U.S.-Japan Cultural and Educational Exchange (Department of State); and Director of the American Oriental Society. The Japanese government honored Shively in 1982 with the Order of the Rising Sun.

Born and raised in Kyoto by missionary parents who acquainted him with such eminent artists as Hamada Shôji, Kawai Kanjirô, and Munakata Shikô, Shively began building his own collection following service as a Japanese language officer in WWII and the completion of his graduate studies at Harvard. At its heart are Japanese and Korean ceramics.

Shively was an authority on the urban life and popular culture of the Edo period (1603-1868). In a host of celebrated publications, he explored the societies of the kabuki theater and the licensed brothels as well as the histories of censorship and satire, urban administration, and commercial publishing. Much of his work explored the subversion of Tokugawa law - against luxurious consumption, erotic art, and scandalous news – by the resourceful writers and rising bourgeoisie of one of the world’s most vibrant urban cultures.

Note: A large white porcelain jar of similar size (13 1/2in [34.3cm] high) with a more symmetrical profile was sold in Christie's, New York sale 15 April 2016, lot 102. However moon jars sharing the irregular shape the Shively jar also survive from the 18th century : see the exhibition Choson Paekja hang'ari [Special Exhibition of White Porcelain jars in Choson Period] (Ewha Woman's University Museums, Seoul, May 1985), no. 8, p. 14 (31.5cm high); nos. 10 (45cm high) and 11 (44cm high). See also the moon jar of asymmetrical shape (18in [45.7cm] high), in the the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, published and illustrated in Asian Art Museum of San Francisco: Collection Highlights (Tuttle, 2018), pp. 222-223 [The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P110+]. Multiple views of the Brundage vase are also available on the museum website.

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Lot 997. A mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquer storage chest, Joseon dynasty (1392-1897), 19th or early 20th century; 22 x 25 x 16 1/4in (55.7 x 63.5 x 41.1cm). Estimate: $10,000 - 15,000. Photo: Bonhams.

The rectangular chest fitted with two hinged doors opening to reveal six drawers of various size, decorated on the exterior of the doors and the sides with scholars and attendants enjoying tea beneath pine trees,or admiring fish in a stream, the upper surface with crane in flight above fruiting trees, and a central auspicious medallion, all bordered by grape vines or key fret bands, the interior of the doors with auspicious medallions and scrolling vines and the drawers decorated with blossoming peonies, chrysanthemums, peaches, prunus and bamboo, bronze hardware with traces of gilding and brass drawer pulls.

Note: The decorative panels of Chinese sages under pine trees on the door fronts, as well as the key-fret pattern that frames the edges of this storage chest also appear in mother-of-pearl inlay on a lacquered wardrobe (nong) of typical Korean format in the collection of Tenri University Sankokan Museum, Japan, dated to the 19th-20th century in Uri nara shont’ong munaeiu (Korean Traditional Pattern 3: Lacquerware Inlaid with Mother-of-Pearl, Woodenware Adhered with painted Ox-horn Sheet) (National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, 2005), no. 105, pp. 362-365). The same volume also reproduces a game board for go (badukpa) with similar mother-of-pearl inlay of four Chinese sages playing go in the Koryo Museum of art, Kyoto: no. 106, pp. 366-367, also dated to the 19th-20th century.

However the shape of this lot mirrors a late 19th century two-door cabinet-on-stand of brown lacquered wood with shark skin, tortoise shell, mother-of-pearl and crimped wire inlays, in the Museum fur Lakkunst, Munster, published in Patricia Frick and Son- Chim Jung, Korean Lacquer Art: Aesthetic Perfection (Munster, 2012), no. 45, pp.186-189. The authors note in the entry that these cabinets, called gakkesuri (safe-chests) in Korea were inspired by Japanese ship captains’ sea-chests (funadansu) introduced to Korea in the late Joseon period to Korea, and became highly valued in Korean households for keeping documents and other valuable items. The Museum fur Lakkunst cabinet is dated to the 19th century.