Published: September 6, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Sarasota Estate Auction
SARASOTA, FLA. – A lifetime local collection of early Asian works of art, including a rare tomb guardian stone sculpture from 200 BCE-550 CE, a pair of stone lions from approximately Seventh-Tenth Century, buddha sculptures, fine art and porcelain, was the focus of Sarasota Estate Auction’s Asian works of art sale, August 27-28. “It was an interesting two-day sale,” said the firm’s owner Andrew Ford. “We had good strong online bidding representing some 28 different countries.” Topping the sale, which totaled north of $350,000 with 7,000 registered bidders on five platforms, was a Japanese Arthur & Bond sterling dragon tea set that ended up selling for $13,860 against a starting bid of $4,000 and estimate of $8/10,000. This piece ended up selling to a New York City silver collector bidding by phone.
On day two of the sale, a rare early Chinese limestone tomb guardian-Tianlu sold for $12,600 and will stay in the Sarasota area. The late Han through Liang dynasty (200 BCE-550 CE) large-scale stone carving is one of a number of mythical stylized lion-like winged guardians known as either Tianlu, (heavenly emolument) or Bixie (dispeller of evil). These figures were placed along pathways leading to an emperor’s tomb and positioned at the tomb entrances, signifying the bravery, dignity and authority of the emperor. They were protectors and the vehicle for the emperor’s ascension into heaven. This one measured 34 inches high by 48 inches wide and 17 inches deep. “It’ll require five strong movers to get it to its new home, said Ford.
A fine art highlight was “The Foreign Hongs at Canton,” an oil painting on copper plate, circa 1810-20, depicting the Swiss, Spanish, American, Swedish, British and French flags at their respective Hongs at Canton, with various boats and vessels in the water near the harbor. Unsigned and framed in an ebonized wood frame, overall 7¼ by 8¾ inches, the painting outperformed its $3/6,000 estimate to bring $10,080. “We were pleased to see the continued strength of Chinese export art, especially for such a diminutive painting, which was in crisp condition,” said Ford.
Also outperforming was a Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795) Chinese peach and bat decorated porcelain charger with six-character seal in underglaze blue. It sold for $7,560 against a $1,5/1,800 expectation. The large (18¼-inch diameter) and impressive circular bowl with wide flaring sides rising from a raised circular foot was decorated with a composition generously spaced to emphasize the white porcelain, the design brightly painted in various shades associated with a famille rose palette. The interior featured two boughs, one a grayish-blue, the other in shades of brown, which continued over the rim and down the exterior to the foot ring, each bough fruiting with a pair of peaches, partially ripened, shaded light pink to a deep fuchsia and yellow. Also, three bats in flight were shown in the interior, the exterior with two additional bats.
Fetching $5,670 was a large Chinese blue and white porcelain charger, unmarked, with underglaze blue and flared rims. It was from the Qing dynasty, Nineteenth Century, its circular bowl with sloping sides, wide out-turned rim and raised foot, decorated on both the interior and exterior with scrolling vines and floral blossoms in shaded tones of blue.
A peaceful pose was offered in the form of a Ming/Qing dynasty large Chinese sandstone Buddha Amitabh. Expertly carved with a soft hand, the meditating Buddha was the picture of calmness and tenderness, with full rounded lips and almond shaped eyes beneath wide arched brows. Wearing the traditional ushnisha, and poised cross-legged in Dhyana Mudra, a cloth draped over her shoulder terminating in a double sache incised with gentle scrolls, the 39-by-22-by-50-inch Buddha was bid to $7,560.
More guardians were on offer. These comprised a pair of Chinese granite lions, Tang dynasty, Seventh-Tenth Century BCE, which left the gallery at $6,300. The male and female lions were impressive, facing inward and poised in heraldry. They had been carved from blocks of grayish-white granite, the female with her right paw resting on her cub, the male with his left paw atop a sphere, each lion’s face having varying features. That is, the male’s face was muscular, rounder in shape and forward projecting; hers was somewhat elongated and rectangular in shape, The pair stood 35 inches high, 48 inches wide.
A lot of three Chinese square rank badges (buzi) did well, selling for more than four times high estimate to settle at $5,040. The 12-inch-square badges were Qing dynasty, Nineteenth Century, each a square silk badge of a Mandarin duck for a civil official of the seventh rank. Depicted were colorful ducks in flight amid bright blue clouds with a midday sun and scattered auspicious symbols.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. Sarasota’s next big sale is set for October 29-30, its fall fine art and Asian auction. For more information, 941-359-8700 or www.sarasotaestateauction.com.
September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm