Published: May 15, 2012
Chinese art led off the April 20′1 Asian art sale at Skinner where the highlight was an Eighteenth Century porcelain moon flask in copper red and underglaze blue that sold for $230,000 against the estimated $20/25,000. The piece was decorated with a dragon surrounding the pearl and bore a Qianlong mark on the base. That distinction gave it a greater desirability than the Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century blue and copper red moon flask with scrolling lotus blossoms but without a mark that doubled its estimate at $24,885.
Other porcelain of note included a Sixteenth Century covered ovoid jar decorated with the Heavenly Horses that realized $32,805. A Nineteenth Century blue and white bottle vase decorated with scrolling lotus and tendrils and bearing the six-character Qianlong mark realized $26,070. Another blue and white vase, an Eighteenth Century example in yan yan shape, was decorated with scholars, immortals and musicians in the topmost section; with pomegranate cartouches in the middle and a continuous garden scene with dancing figures, it brought $26,070. There was also a Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century pear-shaped porcelain vase bearing the Kangxi mark and decorated with court figures in a garden, flowers and bands of lingzhi, which fetched $23,700.
A group of cloisonné vessels attracted interest, with a K’ang-hsi (Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century) bottle-form bronze vase enameled with a delicate pattern of lotus blossoms and vines on a turquoise ground bringing $75,625 against the estimated $10/15,000. The vase had been purchased at a 1911 American Art Association auction and had been in the collection of Robert M. Hoi.
An interesting pair of Twentieth Century cloisonné vases decorated with scenes of prolonged life (He Lu Tong Chun) sold for $33,180. It was marked “Da Qing Qian Long Nian Zhi,” which translates to “Made during the Qianlong reign of the Great Qing dynasty.” A Nineteenth or Twentieth Century pair of cloisonné pagodas with a Qianlong mark set on square pedestals and supporting a sphere with a pierced brass lion head in turn supporting a ringed pagoda sold for $29,625. A 10-inch court necklace container decorated with dragons, scrolling lotus flowers and foliage and characters signifying good fortune, prosperity and longevity sold for $27,255. A cloisonné censer with the cast mark Xuan De Nian Zhi Se brought $24,885, and another example with the Qian Long Nian Zhi Se mark was $21,330.
Other cloisonné highlights were a vase decorated abundantly with flowers and vines and marked Jing Tai Nian Zhi that sold for $20,825 and a box decorated with lotus flowers and leaves and marked Jing Tai Nian Zhi, that was $14,220. A box with a carved celadon jade stone was $11,850.
Jade highlights included a Nineteenth Century green champion covered vase that fetched a mid-estimate of $23,700. It was carved as two cylinders with a phoenix standing on a crouching beast with a mythical beast on the lid and bore a Qianlong mark on the base. A pair of green jade vases carved with bands of archaic chilong was also within estimate at $5,333.
Twentieth Century Chinese ink paintings are the subject of great interest in the marketplace. In this sale, a hanging scroll depicting a bird perching on a branch was inscribed and attributed to Qi Baishi and sold for $65,175 against the estimated $300/500. A framed painting of a plant with blue blossoms and a ladybug on the stem of one, also attributed to Qi Baishi, bore two seals and sold for $41,475. A 1973 hanging scroll signed Song Wenzhi and Qian Songyan featured a detailed Chang Jiang River landscape with a train emerging from a tunnel. It fetched $28,440 against the estimated $600/800. A hanging scroll with an image of a dragonfly above foliage and rocks was signed Zhao Shao Ang and realized $17,775.
Two fan paintings sold to two different phone buyers. One attributed to Zhang Daqian depicted a landscape with a seal on one side and with calligraphy on the other side and sold for $41,475. The other, attributed to Fu Baoshi and depicting a man in a boat, was inscribed and signed and sold for $31,995.
An album of eight paintings by various Twentieth Century artists was estimated at $10/20,000 and sold for $25,725, while a painting album of landscapes on paper, each with inscriptions, and with seals, was attributed to Xie Zhiliu and realized $15,795. A set of 12 ink on paper landscapes, each signed by Wu Guangzhong, who is the subject of a current exhibition at the Asia Society Museum in New York, and eight of which bore a single seal, was $27,945. A loose painting of a river landscape executed in the manner of Song Wenzhi was signed and bore three seals. It realized $22,515.
Three paintings †”A Reflection of Old Days,” “Gentle Breeze” and “Enjoy A Good and Prosperous Life”†all by eminent contemporary Chinese artist Fang Xiang, attracted much interest but failed to sell.
An Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century scroll painting measuring 290 inches in width and depicting groups of scholars and attendants was inscribed and bore 11 seals. It sold in the gallery for $24,885.
The star of the furniture across the block was a gracefully proportioned Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century huanghuali table with horse hoof feet that blew past its estimated $800․1,200 to sell at $41,475. An Eighteenth Century pair of hongmu cupboards with open shelves for display, drawers and smaller cupboards was pierced extensively and realized $24,885. An Eighteenth Century huanghuali settee with two reserves carved with chilong fetched $23,700, as did a luohan bed with five marble insets on the back and two each on either side. An Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century huanghuali dressing table with a single central drawer brought $18,960, and an Eighteenth Century huanghuali folding armchair with a rattan and straw seat garnered $14,220.
A contest between a bidder in the gallery and another on the phone erupted over a monumental (29¾ inches) Nineteenth Century Japanese bronze, gold and shakudo urn with a roundel front and back depicting phoenix, stylized dragon handles and a taotie mask. The phone bidder prevailed at $50,363. A Sino-Tibetan bronze of the Buddha seated in the Samadhi position on a lotus throne and wearing a crown with five Buddhas sold for $15,795.
One late addition to the sale, cataloged as possibly Fourteenth Century, was a Korean dirgha agama sutra painting on paper that was inscribed with a dedication and dated 1349, that sold for an impressive $18,225, despite some condition problems.
Textiles bore impressive results: A 30-inch Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century Sino-Tibetan Kesi badge with a pearl above a full faced dragon with Buddhist design elements and Sanskrit characters and with a silk border sold for $58,188. A Nineteenth Century Sino-Tibetan panel decorated with the Green Tara amid smaller Buddhist figures realized $31,850. A stylish Qing dynasty yellow silk suit of armor, actually a ceremonial covering for armor, was embroidered and embellished with metal studs, and included a huxinjing disc signifying protection for the heart. It sold for $21,870. A bolt of Qing dynasty yellow silk embroidered with green and blue dragons with clouds brought $11,850.
A Seventeenth Century rhinoceros horn libation cup in archaistic form was carved with chilong and signed. It realized $67,375. A Nineteenth Century example in the form of a lotus with a blossom and leaf sold for $14,220. Bidders were still interested in the 111/8-inch Eighteenth Century libation cup that was re-cataloged in the addendum as a possible rhinoceros horn and drove it to $10,413. The cup was carved with the Three Friends of Water and on the interior with four bats and a ruyi head.
Jade of interest included the spinach green brushpot carved with a scholar and an attendant in a landscape that realized $17,010. A pale green jade example carved with Immortals in a mountainous landscape went for $10,413. A light green jade cup with apple green marks and pretty floriform handles sat on a carved wood stand. It sold for $15,405. A celadon green jade scepter carved with four emblems and a bat sold for $14,580.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.skinnerinc.com or 508-970-3000.
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