Chinese Furniture and Relics Worth Up To $ 800,000 To Be Auctioned | Auction news | THE VALUE


Chinese artwork sold well at the Asian Art Week Spring Auctions in New York City. Christie’s sold US $ 16.5 million, while Sotheby’s sold US $ 13.8 million – both in March.

In the upcoming fall sales, these two sales should also feature well in the Asian Art Week auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. In this article, Chinese furniture from Christie’s and Chinese artwork from Sotheby’s were chosen for discussion as they are among the top lots with high prices from both international auction houses.

Highlights include Christie’s huanghuali horseshoe-backed chairs, valued at between $ 600,000 and $ 800,000. Sotheby’s bronze ritual food container (ding) is also noteworthy, expecting to fetch between $ 800,000 and $ 1.2 million.

Christie’s

Pair of continuous back armchairs in huanghuali horseshoe inlaid with dali marble

Created in the 17th century
95.8cm high, 59cm wide, 48.3cm deep
Origin:

  • Nicholas Grindley Ltd., London, 1987

Estimated price: 600,000-800,000 USD
Sale: Important Ceramics and Chinese Works of Art
Date: September 23-24, 2021

Importance

Nicholas Grindley has been dealing and researching Chinese art, with a special emphasis on furniture and works of art for over 40 years. The works he has processed have been exhibited in museums and private collections in London, New York and Hong Kong. He co-authored with Robert Jacobsen the Classical Chinese Furniture Catalog at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 1999.

Iconography

These dali marble panels on the rear flanges are rare. Both panels are chosen for their natural markings and are carefully polished to reveal expressive and poetic scenes.

The left panel is a tranquil landscape scene – a misty morning punctuated by a lonely tree. The right panel represents a rough sea or a powerful storm.

The shape of these chairs is a variation of the more common horseshoe back chair. But in this example, the arms continue into the seat to form a seamless curved line. The design was inspired by the humble bamboo chair and the construction technique of bending lengths of bamboo using steam and heat. This pair of chairs was said to have been commissioned by a wealthy family drawn to the humble origins of bamboo furniture, but seeking the luxury and status associated with the precious huanghuali (Chinese rosewood).


Christie’s

Zitan Imperial Armchair

Created in Yongzheng – Qianlong period (1723-1795)
111.8cm high, 69.2cm wide, 20cm deep
Origin:

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Gray Peck (1879-1956), and thence by descent

Estimated price: 500,000-700,000 USD
Sale: Important Ceramics and Chinese Works of Art
Date: September 23-24, 2021

Importance

The chair is an example of a Western influenced design executed in zitan wood using traditional furniture construction techniques. The density of the zitan made this material suitable for intricate carving, and its glossy surface made it the material of choice for furniture in the Qing Imperial Dynasty (1644-1911). Chinese royalty preferred richly carved and ornate furniture.

Furniture of this western style is called Guangzhou style or Guangshi decoration, after the port city of Canton, in southern China. It was the main trading port for East-West trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. The current chair skillfully combines the East-West aesthetic – a blend of the lavish ornamental style favored by Europeans with the masterful carpentry skills of the Chinese carpenter.

Iconography

This zitan The chair is the fourth surviving example in a chair suite of this particular design. Built of the best quality zitan, the armchair is carved in high relief and is influenced by the western ornamental style called Rococo.

This present chair is also rooted in traditional Chinese furniture. The serpentine arms are supported by a narrow waist, cavorting legs and floor stretchers. The cabriole foot has its origins in China and was adopted by European furniture makers in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Acanthus leaves, scrolled capitals on the columns, and motifs of European gardens and fountains were adopted from Western architecture. They were incorporated into the newly built palaces and their peripheral grounds. Furniture made with traditional Chinese wooden elements and decorated with European-style patterns gave a sense of grandeur, at the height of these complexes.


Sotheby’s

Inscribed Archaic Ritual Bronze Food Container (Ding)

Created at the end of the Shang Dynasty, 13-11th century BCE
Height: 26cm
Origin

  • Collection of David A. Berg (1904-1999)
  • Collection of the Art Museums of Harvard University, Cambridge, received as a bequest of the above
  • Christie’s New York, September 21, 2000
  • Sotheby’s London, June 19, 2002
  • Asian private collection
  • Sotheby’s New York, March 17, 2015

Estimated price: 800,000 – 1,200,000 USD
Sale: Chinese Artworks (Important Chinese Art)
Date: September 21-22, 2021

This ding the vessel has a six character inscription reading Quan zuxin zugui xiang cast on the side of the interior

Importance

Ding are among the most important ritual vessels associated with authority and supremacy. Owners of ding belonged to the social elite – high officials or chieftains. End of the Shang Dynasty (13-11th century BCE) oracle bone inscriptions record a person named Quan Hou, who was an important nobleman at the time. He was probably a senior military official who had served in King Shang’s conquest of enemy tribes.

This object was also part of the Collection of Harvard University Art Museums.

Iconography

Shang dynasty bronze inscriptions (c. 1600-1046 BCE) of more than three or four characters are rare.

This vessel has a deep rounded body supported by three cylindrical legs. The lip edge with two large vertical loop handles, while the body is molded with three large taotie (Chinese mythological monster) masks. His bulging eyes are interspersed with vertical straps, all against a thin leiwen (thunder) on the ground and are below a band of six snakes.

This ding the vessel has a six character inscription reading Quan zuxin zugui xiang sunk on the side of the interior. The current vase is especially remarkable for the content of its inscription. The inscription indicates that Quan was the person who commanded the ship, and zuxin and zugui were the ancestors to whom the ritual offerings were made. The last character, Xiang, should be a clan emblem, which can also be seen on other Shang bronzes. The when The figure (dog) on ​​Shang Dynasty bronzes may refer to the title of an official responsible for organizing hunts and participating in warfare.


Sotheby’s

Altar set with famille-rose gold background (Wugong) | Seal Marks and Qianlong Period

Created during the Qianlong period (1736-1795)
Height of the highest altarpiece: 37.3 cm
Origin:

  • Collection of Dr Denman Waldo Ross (1853-1935), acquired in China
  • Collection of John Arthur MacLean (1879-1964), received as a gift from him circa 1920, and thence by descent

Estimated price: 600,000-800,000 USD
Sale: Chinese Artworks (Important Chinese Art)
Date: September 21-22, 2021

Incense burner for all five altarpieces (wugong)

Candlestick of the set of five altarpieces (wugong)

Importance

This ritual set was collected a century ago. It was purchased by Denman Waldo Ross (1853-1935) in China and later gifted to John Arthur MacLean (1879-1964). Since then, it has been inherited from the latter’s family collection until today.

Ross was a professor in the art department at Harvard University. He was also an influential painter and collector in the Boston area art world. He was the trust manager of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Professor Ross and MacLean had similar interests in Chinese antiques and traveled to China together in 1912.

MacLean was an American scholar. He has worked in many famous American museums, including the Boston Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Museum. MacLean was responsible for the collection and conservation of Asian art in these museums.

Vase of the set of five altarpieces (wugong)

A parasol (top), a lotus (bottom) and a pair of golden fish (right) are designs found in the middle of the incense burner

Iconography

This five-piece altar is a set of five offerings to the Buddha. It consists of a pair of flower cups, a pair of candle holders and an incense burner.

The current combination of five pieces with guthe shaped vases are believed to be an innovation of the Qianlong period (1736-1795). Sets of the same composition as the current one have become popular in many different versions. For example, with backgrounds of various colors, in fencai (light-colored Chinese porcelain), in Doucai (Chinese porcelain painting technique), painted in pink enamel only, carved in imitation cinnabar lacquer, cloisonne and glass.

Some examples are still visible today for example in the historic Tanzhe temple in Beijing or the Forbidden City. But complete sets of any type are very rare.

This altar set is painted in gold color and decorated with entangled lotuses and eight auspicious emblems. This includes the parasol, the shell, the pair of golden fish, the eternity knot, the vase, the banner of victory, the lotus and the wheel of dharma. collectively called the Eight treasures of Buddhism.


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