Gianguan Auctions to present Chinese treasures March 16

Chinese treasures

Zhang Daqian, ‘Reminiscing Lotus Harvest.’ Gianguan Auctions image

NEW YORK – Gianguan Auctions will be holding its annual Spring Sale on Monday, March 16, at 6 p.m. The well-curated Fine Chinese Paintings and Works of Art Collection includes 255 items, all fresh to the market. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The sale kicks off with Burmese carved jade jewelry pieces, and tianhuang and shoushan stone seals. They will be followed by classical, modern and contemporary Chinese paintings, interspersed with Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties’ porcelains and works of art.

Leading the highlights of ink works is Lot 80, a Kwong Lam unconstrained freehand cursive script (est. $2,000-$3,000). Breaking away from writing in the traditional sense Lam created calligraphic writing into free-flowing pictorial signs by relinquishing the conscious structure behind ideographic signs.  The artist takes the concept of spontaneity to new heights of expression by discovering the law of nature within oneself. By forgoing the meaning of the individual sign, the function of calligraphy emphasizes “floating clouds” and “immortal dancing” – in essence, the ecstasy of mind and body conjugated through the unbridled spontaneity of the brush. Lam’s freehand script was first exhibited at Beijing’s History Museum in 1994. He was a recipient of the Ellis Island Medals of Honor in 2018.

Chinese treasures

Kwong Lam unconstrained freehand cursive script. Gianguan Auctions image

Zhang Daiquan, a favorite among collectors and one of China’s most popular artists, is well represented here. In 1941, while stationed in Dunhuang, Zhang painted this large hand scroll, titled Reminiscing Lotus Harvest, on rice paper measuring nearly three meters across. It displays compelling magnificence in continuous brushwork, without breaking in segments, in realistic and freehand strokes, giving the lotus an innate grace and purity (estimate upon request).

Lotus in the Wind shows Zhang at work with his Abstract Expressionism. This work is painted with intense and broad washes of layered ink and completed with loose, freehand strokes. Many have noted that Zhang’s splashed-ink paintings were representations of a synergy of both Western and Chinese painting practices (est. $60,000-$80,000).

In Lot 77, a Guanyin portrait Zhang painted is a fresco copy of the Bodhisattva in Mogao Cave. A gentle kindness is conveyed through the Bodhisattva’s solemn disposition ($50,000-$60,000).

Lot 160, Guanyin executed on gold paper is an excellent example where meticulous fine-line brushwork, rhythmic double lines and opulent colors are emphasized on a Zhang’s exquisite portrait of a female Guanyin, as learned from studies made at Dunhuang Caves (estimate upon request).

Also featured are works by other leading Chinese artists such as monk painter Hong Ren. Hong’s scroll titled Spring exhibits refined, dry and angular brushwork techniques to create a minimalist composition that reflects his inner peace (est. $60,000-$80,000).

Zhao Boju, a Song Dynasty recluse, seeks escape from the worldly cares by creating a secluded mountain landscape with green pigments in his Green Landscape (est. $60,000-$80,000). Another highlight of the Classical painting collection is a four-panel scroll painting by Qi Baishi, Flowers and Vegetables. Here Qi painted familiar objects he saw around him, flowers, vegetables and insects.

Huang Yongyu’s Lotus Pond, displays bold strokes and dripping colors, a classic example of his original style in contemporary Chinese painting.

The art of blue and white includes a Qing Doucai Three Friends bottle vase, which is an ovoid form with rounded tapered sides supported on a recessed base, painted in vibrant cobalt blue with the Three Friends of Winter: flowering prunus, bamboo shoots and boughs of pine.

Chinese treasures

Qing Dynasty Doucai ‘Three Friends’ bottle vase. Gianguan Auctions image

These three plants are representative of fortitude and uprightness in adverse conditions, as well as symbolic of longevity (est. $30,000-$40,000).

A Qianlong turquoise-glazed ceramic kartrika with vajra is steeped in religious symbolism. A vajra is a Tibetan-Buddhist ritual vessel, used in special ceremonies for blessing and consecrating sacred images and is usually cast in bronze. During the Qing Dynasty, with the Royal Belief in Buddhism, Jingdezhen’s Royal Kiln Factory produced a large variety of porcelain Buddhist utensils. In addition to being used as the implement of the Buddhist temple in the palace, it was also used by the court for Buddhist temples in Tibet. This porcelain five-stranded trowel perfectly combines the traditional shape of Tibet with the palace imperial porcelain, and it is also a historical witness of the fusion of Han and Tibetan culture (est $3,000- $4,000).

Chinese treasures

Qing Dynasty, Qianlong turquoise-glazed ceramic kartrika with vajra. Gianguan Auctions image

For enthusiasts of crystal and Buddhist art, there is a Song Dynasty ensemble of three translucent beryl-green crystal glass carved Guanyins in a unique emerald-green color. The trio is further distinguished by being each carved from solid blocks of glass rather than being blown, hence they are heavier, indicating that they were made to imitate hardstones. The Guanyins are carved wearing long robes holding the sun, moon and alchemist bowl (est. $60,000-$80,000).

Lot 168 consists of a collection of Warring States archaic jade carvings, A rare jade pillow carved with recumbent hogs, animal form molded in the round with a ruyi-shaped headrest on the top. Pillows in animal forms were believed to ward off evil spirits and enhance peace and wellness (est. $2,000-$4,000).

Chinese treasures

Qing Dynasty Imperial bronze dragon knop seal. Gianguan Auctions image

The large collection of jadeite jewelry, with its symbolism and beauty, will attract young collectors and connoisseurs alike with items starting at accessible estimates.

For inquiries, contact Mary Ann Lum, Gianguan Auctions’ gallery director, at 212-867-7288 or