NEW YORK, NY.-
On 11 & 12 September 2012 Sothebys
New York will present the bi-annual two-day sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. Major highlights include a recently discovered Blue and White Moonflask from the Ming Dynasty, Yongle Period (1403-1424) and a Wucai Fish Jar and Cover from the Jiajing Period (1522-1566) that is consigned by The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore and is being sold to benefit the Asian Art acquisitions fund. The sale also includes property from private collections that is fresh to the market such as the Shaw Collection of Qing porcelain and An Important Archaic Bronze Wine Vessel that has been in the same Japanese collection since 1924. Overall the sale is expected to bring $15/22 million.
A Rare Blue And White Moonflask (Baoyueping), Ming Dynasty, Yongle Period was recently discovered in a Long Island home (est. $600/900,000). The piece had been in the family collection for decades and came to light when the owners saw a similar piece in a Sothebys advertisement. The Moonflask was kept on a wooden stand which was used as a doorstop. These types of flasks derived from the proto-type of Islamic metal works and were popular during the Yongle and Xuande periods and combine Chinese taste with Persian design.
With their free-spirited imagery and Daoist symbolism, Fish Jars from the Jiajing period are among the most remarkable imperial porcelain creations of the Ming Dynasty. Traditional wucai (Famille-verte) jars are decorated with five colors, which is what the term wucai literally means. This Important Wucai Fish Jar And Cover, Jiajing Mark And Period however, includes a sixth color --- the rich orange that has been used on the body of the fish. While most jars of this type have been separated from their covers, jars complete with covers are only found in the collections of major institutions including the Palace Museum in Beijing, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the Asia Society, New York, and The Musee Guimet in Paris, which has a pair. There appear to be only two or three complete examples remaining in private hands.
The jade in the sale is led by two Imperial seals from the Qing dynasty that match pieces held in the Palace Museum, Beijing. An Imperial Jade Seal was made to commemorate the eightieth birthday of the Qianlong Emperor in 1790 (est. $800,000/1.2 million). The six character inscription reads Ba Zheng Mao Nian Zhi Bao (Treasure of Concern Over Phenomena at Eighty). While the Emperor planned on retiring at eighty-five, the sixtieth year of his reign the seal shows that he was still much involved in the governing of the country. The second seal, An Imperial Spinach Jade Seal comes from a set of three seals made for the Jiaqing emperor for use in the palace of Xianfu Gong. This seal is carved with three characters in relief reading Xianfu Gong (Palace of Complete Happiness). This palace served as the Jiaqing emperors residence and seat of power for ten months (est. $400/600,000).
Another discovery in the auction is A Pair of Huanghuali Yokeback Armchairs (Sichutou Guanmaoyi), 17th century that come from the Collection of St. Matthias Church, Victoria, BC (est. $180/250,000). The chairs were given to the church well over 50 years ago and were frequently used by clergy and the congregation. Large yokeback armchairs such as these are a core element of the Classical Chinese household and these are a particularly fine example.
Among the works from important private collections in the sale is Property From The Estate Of William And Jennifer Shaw. The Shaws were connoisseurs of Chinese art and students of Chinese history who began collecting antique Chinese porcelains in the mid 1980s when they lived in Singapore. Among the highlights of the collection is A Rare Ruby-Ground 'Famille Rose' Bowl, Yongzheng Mark and Period (est. $100/150,000) and An Enameled Yellow-Ground 'Bats' Bowl, Yongzheng Mark and Period, (est. $50/70,000).
The Buddhist Art in the sale is led by A Rare Gilt-Bronze Figure Of Shakyamuni Buddha which comes from a Private California Collection (est. $300/500,000). Gilt-bronze Buddhist figures produced during the reign of Emperor Yongle in the first part of the 15th century and inscribed with his reign mark, are highly distinguished, admired for their exquisite refinement and craftsmanship. The reign mark on this lot shows that it was cast in the Imperial foundries in Beijing on order of the emperor.
An Important Archaic Bronze Wine Vessel (Hu) Eastern Zhou Dynasty, 8th/7th Century BC was first published in Bronzes Antiques de la Chine Apartenant à C. T. Loo et Cie, - the catalogue of the legendary dealer C.T. Loo, published in Paris in 1924. That catalogue was written by Zhu Deyi the private secretary to the Manchu Minister Duan Fang (1861-1911) whose collection of Chinese bronzes is recognized as one of the finest ever assembled. The Duan Fang collection was sold by C.T. Loo among others (est. $300/500,000).
Further highlights in the sale come from the Masaki Museum in Osaka, Japan. The museum, which opened in 1968, was founded by Takayuki Masaki (1895-1985) who donated not only his large and important collection of East Asian antiquities but also provided the Museum building and land on which the museum sits. Among the highlights from the museum collection are bronze vessels from the Shang dynasty such as a rare fanglei and an early example of a jia and, A Rare And Large Gold And Malachite-Inlaid Bronze Ritual Wine Vessel (Fanghu) from the Warring States Period (est. $30/50,000).