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Rich offering of Chinese art fill two-day December auction at Bonhams in San Francisco
A massive and rare rootwood couch bed, luohanchuang, 18th/19th century. The frame constructed entirely from natural rootwood components serving as the supports, back and side panels, fitted with a separately carved elmwood soft caned kang. 29 x 80 x 60 1/2in (73.7 x 203.2 x 153.6cm). Est. $100,000-150,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Bonhams presents enticing works of art in every category of collecting in its auctions of Fine Asian Works of Art and Asian Decorative Art to be held December 20-21. Together, these sales will put more than 900 objects on the auction block, obtained from private collectors, estates and institutions throughout the United States.

The first day is devoted to the bi-annual auction of Fine Asian Works of Art at Bonhams. Focusing almost exclusively on the arts of China, highlights of this 460 lot session will include a pair of zitan and hongmu recessed leg tables, 19th century (est. $120,000-200,000); a rare zitan and hongmu throne, 19th century (est. $200,000-300,000); and a fine and rare eight panel cinnabar lacquer screen, 18th/19th century, signed Lu Guisheng (est. $150,000-250,000), all from the estate of Elinor Majors Carlisle, San Francisco. Bonhams & Butterfields sold a magnificent underglaze copper red dish, Hongwu period, from this estate for a world record price of $5.7 million in 2004.

A fine group of huanghuali furniture will also be offered, including a pair of rose chairs (meiguiyi), 18th century (est. $20,000-30,000); a rare humpback arm chair, 18th century (est. $60,000-80,000) and a three drawer altar coffer, 19th century (est. $40,000-60,000). A very rare root wood luohan couch bed, 18th/19th century (est. $100,000-150,000) will be of particular interest to collectors.

Fine jades and snuff bottles will comprise more than 150 lots of this session. A rare group of Buddhist hand citron carvings from the collection of Dr. Philip Hatfield will be offered, along with a collection of white jade figures from a Minneapolis collector. A large and brilliant spinach jade four-panel screen (est. $40,000-60,000) from Minneapolis will be sold, together with a massive pair of spinach jade basins, Qing dynasty (est. $50,000-70,000) from an Arizona collection. Jade and semiprecious stone snuff bottles from the collection of Linda Riddell Hoffman and Norman Stiller will be offered, including a white jade embellished snuff bottle, 19th century (est. $2,000-3,000); a Suzhou agate snuff bottle, 19th century (est. $2,000-3,000); and a jadeite snuff bottle with relief decoration, 19th century (est. $4,000-6,000).

An important Imperial yellow chuba, late Ming/early Qing dynasty (est. $20,000-30,000) and a yellow ceremonial brocade robe, 18th century (est. $25,000-40,000) highlight the more than 20 lots of Chinese robes and other textiles to be offered. A rare archaic bronze covered vessel (yu), Western Zhou dynasty (est. $90,000-120,000) and a bronze wine vessel (gu), Shang dynasty (est. $35,000-50,000) from an American private collection will also go on the block. Later bronzes from the collection of Dino Bigalli, Director of the Chicago Civic Light Opera, include a massive cast bronze buddha, Ming dynasty (est. $40,000-60,000) and a rare ‘sunspot’ bronze censer in the form a luduan beast, Qianlong period (est. $30,000-50,000).

A fine and large blanc de chine figure of Guanyin, 18th/19th century (est. $40,000-60,000) from an Alaska collection; a sgraffiato blue enamel ground bowl, Daoguang mark and period (est. $20,000-30,000); and a massive blue and white porcelain jardinière, Kangxi (est. $15,000-25,000) are among the more than eight lots of Qing dynasty porcelain to be sold. Blue and white porcelains from the descendants of Mary and James J. Hill will be offered, including a fine Kangxi blue and white porcelain censer of the eight immortals (est. $10,000-15,000) and a collection of Kangxi blue and white porcelains from a Pacific Northwest collection.

Works by the renowned artists Qi Baishi and Wu Changshuo will be part of the 70 lots of Chinese paintings to be sold. An album of various subjects by Qi Baishi, containing nine paintings of double leaves (est. $200,000-300,000) is among the highlights, along with a hanging scroll of Chinese peonies by the same artist (est. $50,000-80,000) and a collaborative painting by Wu Changshuo and Wang Zhen of plum and narcissus (est. $40,000-60,000). Sails in Lijiang, an oil on canvas by Guan Liang (est. $70,000-100,000) will be offered. A rare and important trompe-l’oeil landscape and figural painting, late 19th century (est. $40,000-60,000) modeled on the tongjinghua and xianfahua paintings that fascinated the Qianlong emperor will also be offered.

The sale will conclude with Korean works of art. Top lots will include a fine 10-panel screen of ‘Tribute Missions to the Chinese court’ (est. $50,000-70,000) from a Bay Area estate, and an important painting by Park Sookeun (1914-1963) entitled On the Road, circa 1953 (est. $300,000-500,000). A select group of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art, featuring a group of Tibetan thangkas, Indian jewelry and Southeast Asian paintings by Amorsolo and Arie Smit will conclude the sale.

According to Dessa Goddard, the Vice President and Director of Asian Art at Bonhams, North America, “The December sales provides both the seasoned international buyer and the new collector precisely what they are looking for in the current market – fresh-to-the-market, fine quality objects at conservative estimates.”

The second day of the auction will be dedicated to Asian decorative arts. Headlining the sale will be an exceptional assortment of furniture, including a pair of elegant huanghuali open-shelf storage cabinets, 20th century (est. $30,000-50,000); a six-panel tixi lacquer and wood floor screen (est. $30,000-50,000); and an elaborately carved hongmu desk, late 20th century (est. $20,000-30,000).

There will also be a fine selection of more than 45 decorative jade and hardstone lots available, with a special emphasis on large-scale jades, including a massive mottled green jade carving of a leaping carp group (est. $15,000-25,000), a pair of massive jadeite covered vases (est. $12,000-18,000) and a massive carved green jade reclining figure of Guanyin, 20th century (est. $8,000-12,000).

An excellent array of more than 130 lots of Chinese decorative porcelains will also be on offer, featuring a number of famille rose and monochrome pieces. A number of interesting Dehua figures will be sold; among them a pair of large Dehua porcelain figures of female immortals, late Qing dynasty (est. $5,000-7,000). A selection of exceptional famille rose porcelains will be on the block, including a pair of famille rose gilt and enameled porcelain vases with millefleur decoration (est. $12,000-15,000).

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