Gianguan Auctions showcases finest Asian treasures March 10


‘Four Panel Painting of Poet Li Bai,’ hanging scroll, ink and color on paper, signed ‘Daqian,’ 37¼ × 13½ in. Estimate: $10,000-$100,000. Gianguan Auctions image

NEW YORK – Collectors of Chinese works of art will find Gianguan Auctions’ pre-Asia Week sale on Saturday, March 10, an exploration in connoisseurship. The properties include rare examples of devotional art, historic calligraphy, traditional and modern paintings, ceramics and carved jades. Additionally, highly personal items such as Chinese stone seals, carved jades and Tibetan prayer beads are being offered. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The marquee item is Zhao Mengfu’s script calligraphy of a poem by Liu Zongyuan, Journey to the East Gate. The nearly 100-inch-long calligraphy is signed Ziang. It has one artist’s seal, 10 emperors’ seals, and 19 collectors’ seals. The frontispiece is by Gao Shiqi, with colophons by Pan Zhengwei and Wu Dacheng. Descended from the Song’s imperial family, Zhao Mengfu came to prominence during the Yuan Dyansty, which was under Mughul rule. Bidding on Lot 81 begins at $300,000 but is expected to reach as high as $1.5 million.

Zhang Daqian’s Four Panel Painting of Poet Li Bai (above) is an expressive portrayal of the solitary pursuits of one in tune with the universe. Sparely rendered, the white-robed poet sits, walks, ponders and absorbs that around him, which is reflected in each panel’s calligraphic tribute. Titled, inscribed and signed Daqian, each panel carries three artist’s seals. Bidding on Lot 62 starts at $10,000 although the work is expected to command as much as $100,000.

Among the Modernist paintings, Wu Qingxia’s Lotus Pond Carp (below) is crafted in smooth brush strokes  that capture the fluidity of the large carp as it swims beneath a lotus blossom that could be symbolic of aspirational desires. Her works are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others.


‘Lotus Pond Carp’ is 20th-century Modernist Wu Qingxia’s subtle comment on women fighting upstream in a man’s world of art. Estimate: $8,000-$15,000. Gianguan Auctions image

A jade boulder from the MIT Museum collection, originally sold at Christie’s in June, 1994, makes its stand at Lot 53. Of fine mottled russet jadeite, it has three incised windows through which gleam bright patches of the vibrant emerald stone. Of irregular form, the 5-pound stone carries an estimate of more than $150,000.


Scholar’s jade boulder displaying emerald green. Estimate: $150,000. Gianguan Auctions image

The leading figurative carved jade is a two-horse chariot of pristine Hetian white. Of the Qin Dynasty, the 9-inch-tall sculpture is carved and reticulated to deliver a commanding homage to the emperor’s carriage. Seated under a turreted canopy that bears the royal insignia, the seated figure is guarded by four spear bearing warriors. The charioteer handles chain linked jade reins. The scene is fitted with a wooden ruyi carved base. Lot 133, the 2,000-year-old work of art is expected to fetch upwards of $50,000, with $1.8 being the top estimate.

With devotional art an integral part of the Chinese ethic and highly popular among western practitioners of Buddhism and yoga, the sale would not be complete without exceptional offerings. Among these is Lot 151, a Tang gilt- copper volume of the Pratyutpanna Sutra (Vol. 3). Finely incised in clerical script, the etched sheets are bound by hinges as an album and housed a rectangular box carved with Maitreya on the cover. The 6 3/4-inch-tall volume is valued at more than $30,000.


Tang gilt copper cover of the volume ‘Pratyutpanna Sutra (Vol. 3).’ Estimate: $200,000. Gianguan Auctions image

Highlights of the porcelains feature a Qing Dynasty crackle glaze Ge Yao vase. Its spherical body is finely potted and rises to a long neck flanked by tubular handles at the rim. The unusually sleek design is given a tactile edge by the “iron wire” technique that delivers an irregular crackle across the body. Lot 191 is 6 inches tall and estimated at upward of $50,000.

Known for its collections of Famille-rose, Gianguan offers a bottle vase with clusters of roses kissed by a butterfly. The luxurious scene is an example of the consummate skill of the Yongzheng potters. Of the Qing Dynasty, it bears the Yongzheng six-character mark with a double circle and is of the period. At 16 inches tall, Lot 172 is expected to find interest at more than $20,000.

For details contact the gallery director at 212-867-7288 or The auction will start at 10 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, March 10.