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Distinguished Private and Institutional Collections Lead Chinese Art Sales at Christie's New York
An important and rare large Wucai fish jar, Jiajing six-character mark of the period (1522-1566) (estimate: $300,000-500,000). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2009.

NEW YORK, NY.- On March 18 and 19, Christie's New York will host an impressive series of three sales offering about 550 lots of important ceramics, sculpture, jades, archaic bronzes and furniture. Due to their rarity, freshness and esteemed provenances, Christie's Chinese Art Sales are set to excite the market. The first day of sales begins with Fine Chinese Art from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections highlighted by Chinese classical paintings, archaic jades and bronzes and immediately following is Chinese Jades from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The second day of sales continues with Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, which will offer over 275 rare and important works of art.

Fine Chinese Art from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections
Fine Chinese Art from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections features 200 works of art representing multiple periods and styles, including Classical Chinese paintings, archaic jades and bronzes, Tang and Song ceramics, Buddhist sculpture, Ming frescoes and classical furniture. Highlights from the sale include a very rare and important painted white marble Buddhist votive stele, Northern Qi Dynasty (estimate: $300,000-500,000), which is extremely rare in its monumental scale at 66 7/8 in. (169.8 cm); a very rare Geyao petal-lobed hexagonal dish, Southern Song Dynasty (estimate: $100,000-150,000); an exceptional turquoise-inlaid bronze and jade Ge-halberd blade, Late Shang Dynasty (estimate: $40,000-60,000); and a very rare and impressive large Huanghuali and Huamu compound cabinet, Sijiangui, 17th/18th century (estimate: $70,000-90,000).

Chinese Jades from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The second sale of the day will offer Chinese Jades from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, sold to benefit the acquisitions fund. The sale comprises 75 lots of beautiful carvings in different shapes, forms and colors. Highlighting the sale are two large brushpots both carved with figures in a landscape, a common theme used in classical Chinese paintings throughout the ages, and characteristically both of them are executed in huayi style, as if unfolding handscroll paintings across the exterior. The magnificent 18th century white jade brushpot, bitong, (estimate: $600,000-800,000) depicts three immortals in a mountainous landscape joined by cranes and deer. The restrained and sparse carvings draw attention to the whiteness and the clarity of the stone which are highly desirable qualities in white jade. The gorgeous spinach-green jade brushpot, bitong, Qianlong period (1736-1795) (estimate: $300,000-500,000), is a more ornately carved scene depicting
immortals in a mountainous landscape. The sale will also include a very rare yellow jade phoenixform vessel and cover, (estimate: $100,000-150,000); a greenish-white jade double-lotus pod waterpot, 18th century (estimate: $25,000-35,000); a white jade hibiscus waterpot, 18th century (estimate: $15,000-20,000); and a finely carved lavender and emerald-green jadeite carving of two intertwined carp (estimate: $8,000-10,000).

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Estate of Walter Hochstadter

Walter Hochstadter (1914-2007), a distinguished and well known German dealer of Chinese art, avidly collected during the first half of the 20th century. The varied pieces from his collection attest to his devotion to China’s rich art and culture. Leading the sale is an outstanding and very rare large blue and white bowl, Yongle period (1403-1425) (estimate: $400,000-600,000). This example is one of only two of its kind in the world, the other being in the Shanghai Museum. The bowl is in near perfect condition and is an excellent example of early Ming porcelain at its finest. Other highlights include a very rare Cizhou carved baluster vase, Northern Song dynasty, 10th-11th century (estimate: $100,000-150,000), of Dengfeng-type and deeply carved with a wide band of peonies with leafy stems and petals; a very rare carved red lacquer barrel-shaped jar and cover, Ming Dynasty, 15th century with Xuande gilt-filled six character mark (estimate: $150,000-250,000), which appears to be unique, although smaller porcelain examples of this “cricket cage” form are known; and an unusual and intriguing rare glazed white-ware candle stick, Sui/Tang Dynasty, 6-7th century (estimate: $30,000-50,000) with the mate in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Harvard Art Museum
The auction will also feature five lots consigned by the Harvard Art Museum, sold to benefit the Asian Acquisitions Fund. The most notable of them all is an important and rare large Wucai fish jar, Jiajing six-character mark of the period (1522-1566) (estimate: $300,000-500,000), which was previously in the 19th century collections of Charles Dana, and the author Henry James. The strongly potted jar, painted with golden carp in a lotus pond and aquatic plants, is spectacular for its large globular size and intriguingly some of its enamels appear to have altered, possibly in a palace fire in antiquity. The second highlight is a large painted wood figure of a standing Bodhisattva, Jin Dynasty, 12/13th century (estimate: $60,000-80,000), an exquisitely carved life-size figure attired in a necklace, shawl, draping long scarves and layered skirts, sold by Yamanaka & Co. in 1925.

Important Private Collections
Property from a Private American Collection formed when the family lived in Beijing between 1910-1940 includes an impressive and rare Zitan partner’s desk, 18th/19th century (estimate: $150,000-180,000). The deep purple-toned desk is quite unique for its open design that allows for two users to sit facing one another. Zitan is an extremely rare and expensive wood and it is prized for its hard, dense and tight-grained quality. The auction also features a very rare and important doucai petallobed vase, Zun, Yongzheng period (middle left- estimate: $100,000-150,000) from a North American Chinese Family, acquired circa 1890-1920. Not only is the vase colorful and eye catching in its globular shape, the only other identical vessel appears to be one currently in the Palace Museum in Beijing. Other highlights from various owners include a magnificent large painted and gilded wood figure of Vaishravana, Yongle/Xuande period (estimate: $300,000-500,000); and a rare and large lobed octagonal Ge-type tripod bowl, Southern Song Dynasty (estimate: $400,000-500,000) from the collection of Stephen Junkunc, III, one of the only two to have ever appeared at auction.

The sale features a particularly strong selection of lacquer including a rare pair of large carved fourcolor lacquer circular boxes and covers, Qianlong Period (estimate: $200,000-300,000) with the rare subject of “foreigners bearing tribute to the Chinese court.” The intricately carved boxes exemplify the skillful manipulation of differently colored lacquer layers to produce striking scenes. Another significant lot is a rare and important black, red lacquer box and cover, Hongzhi period (estimate: $100,000-150,000) signed “carved by Wang Ming of Pingliang.” The cover is finely carved with a winding stream running through a lush, mountainous landscape and the high quality box is carved with beautiful, continuous billowing clouds with six descending cranes. It is very rare for mid-Ming lacquers to be signed by known makers although, a dish with an identical signature is in the British Museum, London.

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