FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bonhams CHINESE PAINTINGS AND WORKS OF ART
Posted by: plcombs Dealers Chinese Art – Antiques
Bonhams Auction NEWS Asia Week September 2015
NOTE: Illustrated Catalogs for each sale are viewable at the bottom of this page.
Bonhams Auction NEWS, Asia Week: A fine cast bronze seated figure of the Chinese deity of mercy, Guanyin, is one of the leading items in Bonhams next sale of Chinese Paintings and Works of Art in New York on 14 September. It is estimated at $50,000-70,000.
Commenting on the figure, Bonhams specialist in Chinese art, Nick Rice, said: "Guanyin often presents a full face with calm, idealized features. Here the head of Guanyin, by contrast, is quite individualized - a self-confident beauty with high forehead, pert nose and a bamboo-shaped hairpin in her coiffure of fashionable late Ming type."
Imperial Silk Robe
The sale also features works from two important private collections. Robes belonging to the textile artist Jon Eric Riis include a magnificent and rare formal imperial robe of state from the 18th/19th century known as a chaopao or chaofu, and estimated at $80,000-120,000. It would have been worn only at the most important state functions - enthronements, Grand Audiences, Imperial weddings, birthdays – or at seasonal events such as significant ritual sacrifices or New Year celebrations.
The survival of Qing dynasty chaopao is rare because few of them were produced compared to other court robes. They can be found in several museum collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Tang Dynasty pieces exhibited at the influential 1954 exhibition Mostra d'Arte Cinese in Venice, held to mark the 700th anniversary of Marco Polo's life, are also to be sold.
Additional items from the exhibition include a fine silver stem cup from the late 7th/early 8th century estimated at $15,000-25,000. Precious Tang silver pieces have long fascinated scholars and collectors from East to West, their universal appeal reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of the period in which they were produced. The use of precious metal and the elaborately ribbed and flanged stem cup form appear to be based on Sassanian vessels, adopted in China first as a novelty, but later integrated into religious ceremony.
A rare repoussé and parcel-gilt silver bowl from the early 8th century is an exquisite example of Tang metalwork: the once-glittering gold and silver proclaim wealth and status, but any brashness is softened by the sophisticated delicacy of the construction and detailing. The theme of wild animals within a Persian-inspired landscape setting, full of variety and innovation, reflects the broad array of influences welcomed into Tang cities along the Silk Road. The bowl carries an estimate of $30,000-50,000.
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MAGNIFICENT PAINTING BY IKE TAIGA LEADS BONHAMS JAPANESE ART SALE IN NEW YORK
FINE JAPANESE WORKS OF ART
Bonhams Auction NEWS
An important handscroll with an unbroken line of provenance since it was first commissioned in 1775 leads Bonhams Japanese Art sale in New York on 15 September.
Painted by the artist Ike Taiga (1723-1776), Kochukenkon – The Universe in a Jar – was created at the request of the noble Yoshimitsu family. Subsequently it was held in the collection of Lord Takamatsu and by 1914 was in the hands of Hatta Hyojiro.
The work next appears in the auction catalog of the collection of railroad magnate Matsumoto Shozo and following World War II the painting made its way via a Kyoto dealer into the possession of the current owner, a private American collector. The narrative of the painting is based on a 5th-century Chinese folktale in which a market official follows an aged druggist down a jar. Once inside the jar he encounters a wonderful world of palaces, fine wine, and delicious food, offering temporary respite from everyday life. The painting carries an estimate of US$100,000-150,000.
Another highlight in the paintings section is a 16th-century pair of screens featuring figures enjoying a picnic and observing wild horses. The screens were purchased from the famed Tokyo dealer S. Yabumoto in the early 1950s by an American physician stationed in Japan during the post-war period of rebuilding. The importance placed on horses in Japan has a long history and screens such as this, featuring a variety of the frolicking animals, would have been highly prized. The military class, who wished to chronicle their status and exhibit their sense of refined taste, placed great stock in depictions of horses, coveted for their militaristic association. They are offered at an estimate of US$70,000-120,000.
The sale also boasts a strong selection of Meiji-era arts including Satsuma ceramics and metalwork led by a large presentation vase by the Osaka master Yabu Meizan. The vessel is decorated with an overall design of chrysanthemum blossoms and is offered at US$20,000-30,000. The metalwork section features a fine damascened-iron model of a three-tiered pagoda by the Komai workshop of Kyoto (US$30,000-40,000).
A private Japanese collection of helmets and armor rounds out the sale. The finest piece is an important armor dating from the 19th century, formerly in the collection of Major-General Takimoto Hidemaro, of the Japanese Imperial Army. One of the few pieces to come to auction in recent history with true daimyo provenance, the armor was assembled for Yamaguchi Hirokuni (1808-1869), the 9th head of the Yamaguchi clan and Lord of Ushiku Castle in Hitachi (US$80,000-120,000).
Finally, the sale presents a selection of netsuke from the American collector Virginia Atchley. Bonhams Japanese art specialist, Caroline Gill, says: "Virginia was largely responsible for popularizing the fashion for collecting netsuke in the United States. Starting with her first purchase in 1963, she assembled an impressive collection and was known for sharing her extensive knowledge generously with fellow enthusiasts. It's a particular pleasure to be offering items from such a well-known and respected figure."
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Bonhams Auction NEWS, Auction Catalogs Asia Week New York, September 2015