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Once in a Lifetime Jade Collection Sells for 2.3 Million Pounds at Bonhams
A rare white jade and hardstone-inset 'magpie' box and cover Qianlong period, estimated at £10,000-14,000 sold for £300,000. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- A breathtaking collection of jades sold as part of Bonhams Fine Chinese Art Sale on May 13 in New Bond Street achieved astronomic prices in a frenzy of bidding. The 35 jades made £2.3m in a sale total of £6.6m with 94% by value.

Colin Sheaf, International Head of Asian Art at Bonhams, and the sale’s auctioneer, said after the sale: “It is very unusual to have such a large jade collection of the highest quality all at one time for sale. These are pieces which are comparable or identical to pieces that are housed in the Palace museum Beijing. They represent a once in a lifetime opportunity for jade enthusiasts to buy the very best of their kind, hence the excitement and enthusiasm we saw in the auction room today.”

Top lots included:

• Lot 21, a rare and fine white jade vase and cover from the 18th century with almost flawless stone, featuring a relief of five bats in flight: estimated at £30,000-40,000, sold for £580,000.

• Lot 13, a rare white jade and hardstone-inset 'magpie' box and cover Qianlong period, embellished with jadeite, garnet and rose quartz stones: estimated at £10,000-14,000 sold for £300,000.

• Lot 75, a fine and rare white jade carving of a recumbent doe, from the Qianlong era, estimated to sell for £40,000-60,000, sold for £264,000.

• Lot 25, a very fine and rare yellow and brown jade vase group and cover, of the Qianlong period, carved in the form of recumbent hounds. Estimated at £18,000-22,000, it sold for £228,000. Yellow jade was highly prized throughout the Qing Dynasty and was greatly treasured by the Qianlong Emperor in particular.

• Lot 4 a rare large grey and brown jade 'duck' brushwasher from the
17th/18th century. This unusual and charming waterpot was estimated to make £4,000-6,000, but sold for £156,000.

Screens Believed to be from Imperial Palaces
When the British Expeditionary Force of 1901 was sent to lift the siege of the British Legation in Beijing and quell the Boxer Rebellion it is known that they entered the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace.

As a result of this military initiative Chinese works of art including two monumental screens were brought to Britain and were in the sale estimated to sell for £50,000 to £80,000 and £12,000 to £18,000. The monumental hardwood screens are said to have returned to Britain with Major General Sir Ivor Philipps.

Lot 408, a large and imposing rare zitan and hardwood screen and stand dating from the 18th/19th century was estimated to sell for £50,000-80,000 but made £78,000. The screen is very similar in construction and design to Imperial hardwood screens and is likely that originally it would have been embellished with an inlaid decoration, possibly of hardstone, ivory, kingfisher feather, jade or enamel.

The screen is adorned with crisp carving of acanthus leaves on the apron at the lower section of the stand and at the terminals flanking the screen. This design is comparable to acanthus carving on Imperial screens from the Palace Museum, Beijing, and is related to the European influence on Chinese architecture and works of art, best exemplified in the Yuanming Yuan and the artefacts made to adorn it, produced under special commission or by the Imperial ateliers.

Lot 409, a large and imposing rare hardwood screen and stand from the 19th century estimated to sell for £12,000-18,000, but it made £22,800 in the sale. The inset silk embroidery is decorated with two large roundels flanking a smaller one, enclosing butterflies amidst sprays of lotus, peony, chrysanthemum and pink, framed by borders enclosing the attributes of the Eight immortals floating amidst waves crashing against the legendary island of Peng Lai.

Bonhams | Fine Chinese Art Sale | Colin Sheaf |


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