Converse Auctions to cap off online Chinese arts auction May 4

Chinese arts

Important 15th century bronze gold and silver Buddha. Converse Auctions image

MALVERN, Pa. – More than 300 hand-selected Chinese antiques are up for bid in Converse Auctions’ internet-only Important Spring Chinese Auction on May 4. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

“We’ve spent the last several months gathering the best of the best Chinese antiques for this important online auction,” said Todd Converse of Converse Auctions. “The items include Ming and Qing dynasty porcelain, Republic Period porcelain, monumental Qing dynasty cloisonné, Hetian jade carvings, a 15th century Tibetan gold gilt Buddha and thangkas.”

The list continues with Chinese Export silver and porcelain, Chinese watercolor paintings, and zitan and huanghuali furniture. Remarkably, despite the lengthy and impressive list of many categories just recited, the sale’s top lot may end up being a set of eight 1980 Chinese Golden Monkey stamps (below). The set, being sold as a single lot, has an estimate of $12,000-$18,000.

Chinese arts

Golden monkey stamps from 1980. Converse Auctions image

Two challengers carry $10,000-$20,000 estimates. One is a 15th century bronze, gold and silver Buddha on a three-tiered geometric throne, overall 23½ inches tall, from a Tibetan monetary in Lhasa, purchased at a Hong Kong art market in 1986. The other is a monumental pair of phoenix and dragon cloisonné vases, 21 inches tall, having necks with archaic borders, bats on wide panels and a circular reserve on the bottom with flowers and a four-character Qianlong mark.

Chinese arts

Monumental pair of phoenix & dragon cloisonne vases. Converse Auctions image

Chinese zitan wood is dense and makes for wonderfully durable and gorgeous furniture. An impressive 20th century elaborately carved and pierced dragon throne, fit for a king and topped by a large dragon head with his tongue curling down into a fire pearl, 50½ inches in height, is expected to command $5,000-$8,000; while a pair of Qing zitan and semiprecious stone cabinets (below), traditionally tapered in shape and with lovely mirrored village scenes, should rise to $4,000-$6,000.

Chinese arts

Pair of Qing zitan and semiprecious stone cabinets. Converse Auctions image

For zitan fans on a budget, a long carved zitan altar table, 79 inches in length, with the apron carved in facing dragons below the table top and ruyi flowers down the curving legs, carries an estimate of $1,000-$2,000. Also, a pair of mirrored carved huanghuali etageres with various open shelving bordered by carved and pierced meander and flower and tendril patterns should reach $2,000-$4,000.

Chinese vases are enormously popular because they’re beautiful, colorful and make spectacular decorative accents. The auction has a marvelous selection. A few exceptional lots include:

—A 19th century blue and white trumpet-shape palace vase with two facing dragons, 24¾ inches tall each, painted with an abundant blooming peony garden (est. $3,000-$5,000).

—A Ming dynasty bottle vase with the Zhengde (1506-1521) mark on the front and having a delicate yellow background with decoration in shades of green (est. $2,000-$4,000).

—A Qianlong “100 Children” famille rose vase, the body showing celebrating children holding banners and lanterns parading outdoors, 14 inches tall (est. $1,000-$1,500).

—A 20th century Republic Period monkey and horse vase depicting two horses standing by a stream and a monkey in a nearby tree, with calligraphy on the back (est. $1,000-$1,500).

—A blue and yellow vase, 7 inches tall, with a bright yellow glazed background, with blue flowers and tendril on the neck and body, and lion ring handles (est. $800-$1,200).

A Qing Qianlong cloisonné birdcage with perch, feeders and enameled bird figure inside, with two removable feeding bowls (as is the bird), having a turquoise background with flower and tendril designs on the door and marked on the bottom within by a ruyi border, should make $3,000-$5,000. Also, a pair of fine Yongzheng Chinese porcelain bird bowls, with a female shown nesting while the male bird perches nearby, surrounded by flowers and butterflies, is estimated at $800-$1,200.

Chinese arts

Qing Qianlong cloisonne birdcage. Converse Auctions image

Thangkas (Tibetan Buddhist religious paintings on cotton, silk applique, usually depicting a deity, scene or mandala), are desired by collectors. This sale has several, including a 40-by-25½-inch fine silk example having blue Yamantaka with flaming hair, a dragon at the top and skulls and flaming clouds throughout (est. $1,000-$1,500).

For more information about Converse Auctions and the internet-only Important Spring Chinese Auction on Friday, May 4, contact the company at 610-722-9004 or