NEW YORK – On Saturday, December 17, beginning at 10 am Eastern time, Gianguan Auctions presents a sale of Important Chinese Paintings and Works of Art. It will feature Buddhist sculptures, jade and crystal carvings, bronze and cloisonne enamel, paintings and porcelain. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Bats have long been regarded as the symbol of blessings and fecundity in Chinese culture, with its appropriate homonym as Bianfu, or happiness. The creatures are showcased on a pair of gilt-bronze cloisonne enamel double gourd vases estimated at $50,000-$60,000. The double-gourd form is itself a symbol of fertility, and this pair of vases features designs of superimposed gourds interspersed with bats and Bajixiang’s eight icons, which express the foremost wishes of the people for happiness, longevity, wealth, joy and success.
The symbols of wishes for a long, healthy life and prosperity for descendants were developed in ancient times, and some appear on lots 110 through 113 – roof-end tiles dating from the Han dynasty and made for the palace. Each carries a longevity inscription or a phoenix symbol, meant to exorcise demons and eliminate evil, ultimately keeping the palace safe. These tiles were made of Chengni, a clay which, when fired, retains water without drying up, lending these roof tiles to conversion for use as inkstones. Each lot has a modest estimate of $800-$1,000.
Another standout is a Hetian jade carving of Lingzhi with a dragon and a peach. Sculpted with fruiting branches of pomegranate and finger citron, this exquisite piece reflects the emperor’s desire for a long, healthy life and prosperity for his descendants. Intricately carved in openwork, it represents the hopes of the emperor and his family to overcome sickness, war, revolution and the unforeseen. It carries an estimate of $60,000-$80,000.
The prominently auspicious creature in Chinese culture, Chilong, features on an archaic bronze sword with carved jade fittings estimated at $20,000-$25,000. The jade hilt, guard, grip, pommel and sheath of this bronze sword are incised with Chilongs, which symbolize beauty, auspiciousness and fortunes, as well as relationships between men and women.
Certain to turn heads is Lot 105, a Qing dynasty Guanyin figure made from clear crystal. Standing on a raised lotus plinth, this magnificent goddess of mercy is carved out of a huge piece of pure, natural crystal. The Guanyin looks serene with downcast eyes, her hair topped by a tiara and her chest bearing a lotus pendant. She is gracefully draped in a robe that flows down to her bare feet. Her left hand holds a stemmed lotus flower while her right hand is in an upturned pose. The crystal Guanyin has an estimate of $80,000-$100,000.
Also dating to the Qing dynasty is a jade censer modeled after a bronze dou, with a globular body raised on a stem pedestal. Its tall domed cover is surmounted by chi-dragon with small loose rings and flanked by dragon head handles with suspended loose rings. Shallow-incised floral scrolls decorate the body of the censer. Superbly conceived and original in its design, it is estimated at $40,000-$50,000.
Another variety of jade worthy of mention are two Neolithic Liangzhu culture white jade pendants, estimated at $1,500-$2,000 and $2,000-$3,000, respectively.
The selection of traditional Chinese paintings leads with master Zhang Daqian’s Red Lotus Splashed, which depicts a single lotus with petals unfurling into full bloom. It is estimated at $40,000-$50,000.
Completing the choices is Pan Tianshou’s A Hawk Family, estimated at $40,000-$60,000. To Pan, the hawk symbolized courage and might. With varied ink tonalities, he portrayed the fierceness and determination of the parent bird in raising the young in an adverse climate.
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