ALAMEDA, CALIF. — A soapstone carving depicting the Qing dynasty porcelain kiln supervisor Tang Yin, commissioned for his 70th birthday, attained $2,235,000, including buyer’s premium, at Michaan’s Sunday, June 23, Asian arts auction. The Eighteenth Century figural carving handily trumped its $100/150,000 estimate.
The substantial piece dates to the Eighteenth Century and displays a range of detailed carving workmanship. Tang Ying is a rare subject matter in Asian works of art, making this an especially collector-worthy piece.
The seated Tang Ying is depicted wearing a dragon robe and a serene smile as he is flanked by five young boys. Inscriptions are carved in the stone around him, revering his character and the significance of the young boys. The scene is an artistic expression of the gentle Tang Ying being a worthy father figure as well as in the good fortune of bearing sons.
The carvings are well executed, realistically portraying the figures and the rocky landscape that they are positioned in. The entire piece is finished by various pigment rubs, further highlighting the fine detail apparent in the carvings.
A complete report on the auction will appear in a future edition.