DALLAS – Among the highlights in Heritage Auctions’ Fine & Decorative Asian Art Auction Sept. 22 and 23 will be an extraordinary selection of Chinese porcelain from a Northern California estate. “This is from an exceptional selection of Chinese porcelain,” Heritage Auctions Asian Art Consignment Director Clementine Chen said. “Much of it includes incredibly delicate, intricate paintings that tell complete stories. Many of these items are extremely rare.” Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
A Chinese blue ground yellow glazed dragon bowl. estimated at $8,000-$12,000, dates back to Emperor Xianfeng, whose brief 11-year reign fell during the time in which the British and the French burned the summer palace during the second opium war. Not all dragon plates were created equally, especially those with imperial Xianfeng marks. His entire reign overlapped with the Taiping Rebellion, a civil war in southern China in which more than 40 million people died. Rarity of imperial porcelain with his marks stems from the destruction of the imperial porcelain factories in Jindezhen by the fifth year of his reign in 1855 by the Taiping rebels. Xianfeng’s reign marked a critical watershed moment in the history of Chinese Porcelain making: civil strife broke the continuity of imperial porcelain production that dated to the 1680s, and when the kilns resumed work more than a decade later under the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor, they would produce wares inferior to the earlier period. Many of the innovations of that earlier period were lost or discontinued.
A Chinese blue and white bowl, Qing dynasty, 18th century, estimated at $10,000-$20,000 can be traced back to the earliest period in which artists put complete stories on their porcelain art. This bowl is notable because of markings on the bottom that suggest – incorrectly – that it is from the Ming dynasty. Connoisseurs of Chinese porcelain often considered the Xuande reign of the Ming dynasty a period of unparalleled innovation and mastery in design, especially for blue and white wares where some of the most celebrated forms found their original prototype. The Qing Emperors, who saw themselves as great connoisseurs of Chinese art, found no problem attaching attribution marks to this period on the wares produced by their imperial factories. Indeed, they often reserved the very best pieces for this special type of honor. This blue and white bowl with the six-character Xuande mark dates to the early 18th century. The attribution mark would thus date to either the Yongzheng or early Qianlong period, another period of great artistic innovation in the imperial kilns. Both Emperors commissioned works with attribution marks to the Xuande period as a testament to their appreciation of the quality of porcelain made from that period and the aspiration for their own artisans to achieve the same level of excellence.
Other top Chinese porcelain lots in the sale include, but are not limited to:
A pair of Chinese blue and white porcelain jardinieres, dating to the Qing dynasty and the 18th century. It is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.
A Chinese enameled porcelain trumpet neck vase, from the late 19th-early 20th century, estimated at $10,000-$20,000.
A Chinese Ru-type bottle vase, estimated at $10,000-$20,000.
“We also are honored to offer a group of Chinese paintings and calligraphies from the prestigious Min family,” Heritage Auctions Asian Art Consignment Director Moyun Niu said.
Min Yong-ik was the nephew of Queen Min, who moved to Shanghai after 1894 and became a literati painter himself and formed a close friendship with Shanghai school artists, including Wu Changshuo, Pu Hua and Ren Bonian, among others. The book Songwon Collection was written by Min Yong-ik’s descendent, Min Pyong-U. The collection has been exhibited at the Cathay Art Museum in Taippei, Taiwan, in 1973, and the Baeg-Ak Gallery in Seoul, Korea, in 1985.
Highlights from the Min Songwon Family Collection include:
Three Rams, a 1754 Shen Quan ink and color on paper scroll work. It is signed and dated 1754, with three seals of the artist and two collector’s seals, and carries an estimate of $8,000-$12,000.
Two works on Birds and Flowers by Wang Chen, estimated at $6,000-$8,000 and consisting of ink and color on paper, each signed and with two seals of the artist and one collector’s seal of Chongsog (Pyong-U Min)
Other highlights in the auction include:
A Gandharan gray schist figure of Buddha Shakyamuni, created in Gandhara in the 2nd or 3rd century. It is estimated at $20,000-$25,000.
An Indian sandstone female deity temple element, from Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh, India, and dating to the 10th or 11th century. It carries an estimate of $15,000-$20,000.
Scholars and Attendants with Painting, a work attributed to Chen Yu and estimated at $15,000-$20,000.
A pair of large Mongolian jade and hardstone mounted censers, estimated at $15,000-$20,000.
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