Fine Chinese works of art headline Gianguan’s June 30 auction
Two unusual Fu and Shou character-from sancai ceramic ewers of the Qing Dynasty typify the cultural rarities in the auction of fine Chinese paintings and works of art. Entered as Lots 224 and 225, the unusual wine pots are of flattened form, embellished with floral patterns and geometrics surrounding a center medallion depicting sages. Modestly estimated, the ewers are each expected to fetch between $1,500 to $2,000.
Lot 247 is a doucai floral ritual ewer known as a Benbahu. Classically formed, the bulbous body raised on spreading pedestal and surmounted by a canopy-shaped mouth has a curved spout distinguished by an iron red dragon head with open jaws. The overall floral pattern of lotus blossoms and vines is punctuated by gilt borders. Of the Qing Dynasty and bearing the Qianlong six-character mark, this ewer is being offered with a presale estimate of $150,000 and $200,000.
Also positioned for the high end of the market is a rare Imperial Famille Rose vase with brocade ground similar to two Qing Court vases currently on view in Beijing Palace’s Museum. The Imperial Famille-Rose vase of globular form with a tall waisted neck is decorated with leafy floral blooms and foliate scrolls set between concentric gilt bands. It bears the reign mark on red on gold of the Qing Dynasty and the Qianlong six-character double-squares mark of the period. It stands 8¾in tall. The estimate on the vase may be obtained by calling the gallery.
Coming on the heels of these offerings and highlighting the collection of carved jades is Lot 254, a remarkable Han Dynasty white jade ritual dagger with high-relief carvings of entwined Qilins on one side and archaistic motifs on the back. The long handle bears the carving of a figure. Thirteen inches in length, the dagger is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.
A rare carved Han Dynasty lapis lazuli Bixie is positioned at Lot 269. The Bixie, indicative of the Han fascination with the supernatural, is portrayed in a crouching position as if ready to spring. It is crowned with two horns, curled wings and bifurcated tail. The carved mythical “averter of evil” practically bursts with energy. It is set to go off at between $6,000-$8,000.
A lapis lazuli mountain bolder carved with scholars amidst pine trees and a pavilion is another excellent value at $3,000-$5,000.
A remarkable set of rectangular white jade seals surmounted by a carved elephant from the Emperor Kangxi makes its entrance as Lot 143. Comprised of six seals, each one is carved in positive text bearing political thoughts and moral concepts. They are complete in a fitted box and will likely fetch between $80,000-$100,000.
Among the many other carvings is a translucent white jade tripod censer raised on three mask-head supports with twin upright handles. Of the Qing Dynasty, it is Lot 277, bearing a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.
Cinnabar items scattered throughout the auction provide ample opportunity to acquire fine examples. For instance, Lot 170 is a well-carved cinnabar lacquer dish with two flaming dragons on cresting waves in chase of a pearl. It is an excellent acquisition at $1,500-$2,000. Lot 162 is a large square cinnabar vase with a tall neck and carved with panels of scrolling flowers and continuous landscape finished with graphic borders and splayed feet incised with a key fret border. Its estimated value is $3,000-$4,000. At the top end of the cinnabar offerings is Lot 223, a dish carved with a landscape of the Jade Belt Bridge in a palace set among willow trees. It is bordered with ruyi heads. Of the Qing Dynasty Period and with the Jiaping six-character mark incised, the dish is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.
Small personal and decorative items abound. Among them is Lot 222, a rare and fine lacquer painted collar-shaped wood box with dragons and bats. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000. A collection of teapots is entered in a series covering Lots 312 through 317. Lot 312 is a teapot carved in relief of the God of Wealth Delivering an Ingot; while Lot 316, is a pumpkin-shape pot stenciled with figures and floral Shou characters. They range in value from $500 to $800.
The paintings, for which Gianguan Auctions is becoming known, lead the sale in a morning session that begins at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. With works by the finest painters of the centuries, paintings on the block reflect many centuries of Chinese history. They range from antique Imperial ink on paper or silk scrolls to contemporary offerings.
Among the modern scrolls is Huang Zhou’s Uyghur Maiden, 1984. Burdened with a basket on her head and in concert with a dog, the painting portrays the nomadic lifestyle of people who create and maintain living shrines like those recently featured in a photography exhibition at the Rubin Museum. The ink-on-paper is of muted palette. It is Lot 30, estimated at $40,000 to $60,000.
Qi Baishi’s modernistic Squirrels and Grapes, rendered in nearly abstract graphics combined with representational figures, and colored in browns, blues and purples, is but one example of the master’s oeuvre. It is Lot 35, expected to bring between $80,000-$100,000.
Wu Guanzhong’s Pine in the Wind, a colorful abstraction of line and form, is Lot 40. Its estimate is $100,000-$150,000.
The antique scrolls, those dominated by landscapes, are museum quality. For instance Dong Qichang’s Snow Mountains, dated 1615 is a masterpiece of tonality. With a small house protected by a gate and set in a mountain crevice, the artist’s interpretation of the massive mountain is clear. Lot 24, Dong Qichan’s pen on paper has one artist seal, four emperors’ seals and two collectors’ seals. It is valued at $250, 000 to $300,000.
Another masterpiece is Lot 63. It depicts a stark mountainous landscape with a lonely scholar floating on a boat beneath the ridges. With innovative use of white space depicting distance and a poem reflecting the thoughts of its artist, the painting captures man’s place in nature. Its estimate is available on request.
For condition reports, please call the gallery at 212-226-2660. Gianguan Auctions, now celebrating its 11th anniversary, is located at 295 Madison Avenue. For more, please visit www.gianguanauctions.com.
View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE