PHILLADELPHIA, PA.- Ben Farina, Head of Asian Arts at Freeman’s expressed delight about his curated Asian Arts auction held on 14 October. Farina commented “We had a number of wonderful pieces from various regional collections, and we’ve greatly enjoyed working with the consignors to bring this material to auction.”

The 256-lot sale witnessed competitive bidding between international buyers which pushed sale prices far higher than their pre-sale estimates. On the heels of remarkable sales earlier in the year—including a $2.3M result for an Imperial Chinese vase—Freeman’s Asian Arts department continues to bring fresh-to-market works to serious collectors of Asian art and cultural artifacts.

STRONG SALES EXCEED ESTIMATES

Following spirited bidding wars, several lots achieved results that soared well above their pre-sale estimates. A Chinese handscroll of eight works depicting One Hundred Auspicious Subjects from the Chinese School, 19th century or earlier, sold for $113,400 (Lot 91; estimate: $8,000-12,000) after garnering significant buyer interest. A Chinese faux bronze porcelain shell-form coupe achieved $50,400, a remarkable 33 times its pre-sale high estimate (Lot 27; estimate: $1,000-1,500), and a Chinese flambé-glazed hu-form vase sold for more than ten times its pre-sale estimate to achieve $21,420 (Lot 36; estimate: $1,500-2,000).

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Lot 91. Chinese School, 19th century or earlier, One Hundred Auspicious Subjects, eight works. Ink and color on silk, mounted as a handscroll, inscribed and sealed as follows: Begining of the mount: Three seals:道光鉴赏(Daoguang jian shang) "Daoguang’s appreciation"; 养正书屋鉴赏之宝 (yang zheng shu wu jian shang zhi bao) "Treasure from Yangzheng book hall’s collection"; 虚心实行(xu xin shi xing) "Be humble and steadfast". Painting 1: 百子丰登图 (bai zi feng deng tu) "Abundance of One Hundred Boys", 31 7/8 in. by 10 in. One seal upper right: 道光鉴赏 (Daoguang jian shang) "Daoguang’s appreciation"; another seal upper left: 千里 (Qian li); Inscribed in ink on lower right, “John Gibson H. M. consular service 1860 Painted about 800. AD”. Painting 2: 百鹤添寿图 (bai he tian shou tu) "Extending Longevity with One Hundred Cranes", 32 7/8 in. by 10 in. One seal upper left: 道光之宝 (Daoguang zhi bao) "Daoguang’s treasure"; another seal lower left; Inscribed in ink on lower right, "John Gibson H. M. consular service 1860". Painting 3: 百花献瑞图 (bai hua xian rui tu) "One hundred flowers bringing good fortune", 32 7/8 in. by 10 in. One seal upper right; another seal lower right: 赵氏千里 (zhao shi Qian li); Inscribed in ink on lower right, "John Gibson H. M. consular service 1860". Painting 4. 百爵眉寿图 (bai jue mei shou tu) painting of one hundred Chinese Huamei chanting longevity 33 in. by 10 in. One seal upper left:养正书屋 (yang zheng shu wu) “Yangzheng book hall” ; another seal lower right; Inscribed in ink on lower right, "John Gibson H. M. consular service 1860". Painting 5: 百鸟朝凤图(bai niao chao feng tu) "One Hundred Birds Paying Homage to the Phoenix", 32 5/8 in. by 10 in. One seal upper right: 道光 (Daoguang); another seal central left: 千里 (Qian li); Inscribed in ink lower right, "John Gibson H. M. consular service 1860". Painting 6: 百子万孙图 (bai zi wan sun tu) "One Hundred Sons and Ten Thousand Grandsons" (One hundred fruits representing abundant generations), 31 7/8 in. by 10 in. Three seals upper right; another seal lower right: 赵氏千里 (zhao shi Qian li); Inscribed in ink lower right, "John Gibson H. M. consular service 1860". Painting 7: 百兽率舞图 (bai shou shuai wu tu) "One Hundred Beasts Dancing", 31 7/8 in. by 10 in. One seal upper left: 日进无疆 (ri jin wu jiang) “Always improving with no limits”; another seal to lower left: 赵氏伯驹; Inscribed in ink on lower right, "John Gibson H. M. consular service 1860". Painting 8: 百喜捷报图 (bai xi jie bao tu) "One Hundred Magpies Bringing Good News", 32 in. by 10 in. One seal on upper left; another seal on lower left: 赵氏千里 (zhao shi qian li). Inscribed in ink on lower right, "John Gibson H. M. consular service 1860". End of the mount: Two seals: 道光之宝 (Daoguang zhi bao) "Daoguang’s treasure"; 养正书屋 (Yangzheng shu wu) “Yangzheng book hall” (these appear to directly correspond to the impressions found in Guo Fuxiang, "Qing Dai Di Hou Xi Yin Pu", Volume 10, Daoguang, Palace Museum, p.22).  Sold for $113,400 (Estimated at $8,000-12,000)© FREEMAN’S 2021

Property formerly in the collection of Harry J. Haon II (1901-1989), thence by descent.

Haon was employed by E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, and was promoted in 1954 to the Foreign Relations Department as Manager of the European Office, London, England, until his retirement in 1962. Mr. Haon continued to live part-time in London into the late 1970s. It is believed that many of the Asian arts in his collection were acquired during this time in London.

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Lot 27. A Chinese faux bronze porcelain coupe. L: 4 1/2 in. Sold for $50,400 (Estimated at $1,000 - $1,500)© FREEMAN’S 2021

In the form of a shell with a qilong climbing out holding a piece of lingzhi in its mouth, overall covered with brown and green glaze inmitating bronze patina, splashed gold spots to body, on integral stand, gilded four-character Qianlong seal mark to the underside.

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 Lot 36. A Chinese flambé-glazed hu-form vase, Guangxu mark and possibly of the period. H: 12 in. Sold for $21,420 (Estimated at $1,500 - $2,000)© FREEMAN’S 2021

With a pear-shaped body of rectangular section, rising from a straight foot to a wide mouth flanked by tubular handles, covered overall in a red glaze with bright blue, purple, and white streaks, thinning to beige to the extremities; with a six-character Guangxu mark incised to the underside.

 RARE CHINESE WORKS PERFORM WELL

Leading Thursday’s auction was the $378,000 sale of an important Imperial pale celadon-white jade seal (Lot 107), which confirms the strength of Freeman’s Asian Arts department in securing consignments of deep cultural significance and facilitating excellent results on clients’ behalf. The exceedingly rare seal is one of approximately twenty “Taishang Huangdi” seals commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor of China, a jade connoisseur, upon his retirement in the late 18th century.

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Lot 107. An important Imperial pale celadon-white jade "Taishang Huangdi zhi bao" seal. H: 2 1/2, W: 1 13/16, D: 1 13/16 in.). Sold for $378,000. (Estimated at $300,000 - $500,000). © FREEMAN’S 2021

 Cf. my post: Freeman's to offer important Qianlong jade seal

Another lot, a fine and rare large Chinese blue and white porcelain Ming-style meiping vase—an unusual and exceptional work—achieved $50,400 after multiple competing bids between buyers (Lot 242; estimate: $40,000-60,000).

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Lot 242. A fine and rare large Chinese blue and white porcelain Ming-style meiping vase, 18th century. H: 13 in. Estimate $40,000 - $60,000Sold for $50,400. © FREEMAN’S 2021

Cf. my post: Freeman's to offer important Qianlong jade seal

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS: BUDDHIST FIGURES

Though the majority of the highlights of Asian Arts were Chinese in origin, several Buddhist sculptures from throughout Southeast Asia elicited significant buyer interest; one, a Nepalese gilt copper alloy figure of Vasudhara, achieved $47,250 (Lot 171; estimate: $12,000-15,000). A Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze figure of Akshobhya likewise sparked a bidding war, selling for $30,240, more than four times its pre-sale high estimate (Lot 254; estimate: $5,000-7,000), and a small Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze figure of Manjusri more than doubled its pre-sale high estimate to achieve $7,560 (Lot 256; estimate: $2,000-3,000).

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Lot 171. A Nepalese gilt copper alloy figure of Vasudhara, 12th century or later. H: 6 in. (including tang). Sold for $47,250 (Estimated at $12,000 - $15,000)© FREEMAN’S 2021

The six-armed female deity depicted seated, wearing an elaborate crown and bodhisattva jewelry inset with stones, bearing various attributes in her hands, her hair pulled up in an unusual double chingnon, a long square tang underneath the figure, later ebonized wood stand.

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Lot 254. A Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze figure of Akshobhya, 18th century. H: 10 1/4 in. Sold for $30,240 (Estimated at $5,000 - $7,000)© FREEMAN’S 2021

Seated in vajrasana on a lotus petal, his right hand in bhumisparshamudra, the left resting on his lap, his face with serene expression, below a five-leaf crown in front of his ushnisha, sealed, underside engraved with a double-vajra.

Property from a private collection, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, acquired prior to March 1993.

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Lot 256. A small Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze figure of Manjusri, 18th century. H: 4 1/8 inSold for $7,560 (Estimated at $2,000 - $3,000)© FREEMAN’S 2021

With four arms, seated in vajrasana on a double-lotus base, his raised right hand holding the sword (blade lacking), the left in vitarkamudra and holding a lotus stem supporting the manuscript, wearing dhoti, border engraved, his face with serene smilling expression, elongated earlobes with large earrings and crown set in front of the high chignon.

Property from a private collection, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.