Published: October 23, 2007
Sotheby’s September 18 sale of fine Chinese ceramics and works of art brought $7,657,218 and many outstanding prices for works of art, such as cloisonné and rhinoceros horns and furniture. The auction was 64.7 percent sold by value and 51 percent sold by lot.
Nicolas Chow, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Chinese ceramics and works of art department, and Mee-Seen Loong, senior specialist overseeing the sale in New York, said: “In this sale we saw the prevailing taste for great works of scholarly or imperial importance with good provenance.”
The top lot, purchased by an Asian private buyer, was a magnificent pair of cloisonné and gilt bronze “Hehe” twin boys, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, which sold for $1,129,000. Each boy was modeled kneeling on one knee with both arms raised, wearing an elaborate waistcoat boldly enameled with three dragons.
An Asian private buyer also prevailed for an inlaid gilt bronze “‘mythical beast” censer, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period. Realizing $714,600, the piece was elaborately embellished with a myriad of various semiprecious stones, including malachite, agate, turquoise, carnelian, rose quartz, lapis lazuli and white and spinach-green jade.
The sale featured a number of examples of Song ceramics from the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries. Highlighting this offering was a rare and important early “Yaozhou” carved ewer, Northern Song dynasty, which went out at $669,800. This globular-form piece is carved in relief depicting pairs of mandarin ducks formed in fine detail, a boy holding another duck and a lotus scroll with leaves.
An offering of 11 rhinoceros horns from the Kenyon V. Painter collection was highlighted by an outstanding large rhinoceros horn “scholars” libation cup, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, carved on the exterior with a continuous landscape scene depicting 18 scholars variously engaged in leisurely pursuits. It sold for $361,000.
Rounding out the sale’s top ten lots were another large rhinoceros horn “scholars” libation cup, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, $301,000; an embellished gilt-metal vase and cover, Qing dynasty, Qianglong period, $265,000; an archaic bronze ritual suspension bell (Zhong), late Western Zhou / spring and autumn period, $241,000; a large cloisonné enamel archaistic vase (Fanghu), Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, $223,000; a pair of massive carved full-tip rhinoceros horn libation cups, Qing dynasty, Nineteenth Century, $181,000; and an important pair of monumental huanghuali composite cabinets, Qing dynasty, Seventeenth Century, $181,000.
All prices include buyer’s premium, which is 20 percent of the hammer price on the first $500,000, and 12 percent thereafter. For information, 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm