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Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
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Arlington, VA, United States
DoneSat, Jun 14, 2003 4:15 PM GMT

Spring into Summer Estate Sale

Smith & Benjamin Auctioneers is happy to present this collection of Fine Furnishings, Decorative Arts, Fine Arts and Collection of Asian Works of Art.

Our mission is 1)to provide a well-run and credible estate auction institution for buyers and sellers of art, antiques, furniture and decorative arts, and 2) to help our consumers to become educated collectors and interior designers by offering them the "how to" information they need to become well-informed auction goers.

Smith & Benjamin is happy to offer a Collection of Asian Works of Art, lots 257-350, from a Prominent New York City Collector. This collection of furniture and works of art was first formed in the early 1990s, when Chinese furniture made of alternative woods, including ju wood (southern elm), yu wood (northern elm), bai wood (juniper) and nan wood (cedar), was still under appreciated and overlooked by most furniture collectors. One could find almost every type of furniture and stylistic variation. Since the pieces were relatively inexpensive and plentiful, reproductions were not being made and it was easy to find pieces that were in fairly original condition.

It has been a common practice to refinish the alternative woods, which would invariably destroy the patina and wear of the ages. This collection is an exception. The furniture has been cleaned and conserved and the surfaces have been polished, but the habits and lifestyle of their previous owners are still evident.

The collector selected pieces with simple forms with only modest amounts of decorative detail, reflecting the sensibility of robustness and refinement.

Almost all the furniture comes from the north of China, specifically Shanxi Province. This area is directly to the west of Beijing but is separated by an impassable mountain range, making the area remote. Because of this, the province was spared from much of the destruction of the Cultural Revolution.
The diversity of material from this one area is a testament to the Chinese creative spirit.