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I.M. Chait prepares a connoisseur's selection of Asian and international fine art for its Sept. 23 auction
Rare antique rhinoceros-horn libation cup with inscriptions to both sides. Est. $30,000-$40,000. I.M. Chait image.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA.- Long known for its ability to secure the rare and exquisite for its auction-going clientele, I.M. Chait Gallery & Auctioneers will present another outstanding selection of Asian and international fine art on Sept. 23 at the company’s Beverly Hills gallery. The auction includes 413 top-tier lots, ranging from important Chinese ceramics and carved ivories to European paintings and fine jewelry.

An exceptional Chinese antique rhinoceros-horn libation cup – one of the top lots in the sale – is inscribed on both its sides. Translated, the front inscription reads: “Yizui Kitiandi [Intoxicated (with wine) for prayer in heaven and earth].” A gilt poetic inscription on verso loosely translates, in part: “…Use this cup for tasting wine, [may your] longevity be without an end.” Measuring 4 5/8 inches in length, the cup comes in a signed wood box and has a presale estimate of $30,000-$40,000.

Fine Chinese ceramics to be auctioned include pieces from the Song, Ming and Qing Dynasties. A superb 16th-century Wanli blue-and-white porcelain dragon vase, 16th-century Ming Dynasty, exhibits “gu” form, with a long, slim neck, flared rim, bulbous body and slightly splayed base. Decorated with peonies, foliage and writhing dragons, it carries Wanli Period marks under its base. A ceramic of major importance, it is expected to make $50,000-$60,000.

Large and beautifully painted, a 14th-century blue-and-white Yuan Dynasty charger comes with provenance from a private Japanese collection. The 15¾-inch (dia.) charger features a center motif of fruit, squash and blossoms on vines flanking a palm-like plant. It is banded with a tasteful design of lotus blossoms and meandering foliage. Highly desirable, the piece is entered in the sale with a $40,000-$45,000 estimate.

Another strong section in the sale incorporates antique Chinese lacquered wood Buddhist sculptures and Asian furniture. Two important Shibayama-type inlaid cabinets have come to auction directly from a residence in the exclusive Malibu enclave of Broad Beach. One of the cabinets is a remarkable 19th-century design of architectural form, its base carved with dragons and shi-shi with inlaid eyes, and with various other carved dragon, lion and phoenix motifs. The many panels are gold-lacquered with carved and appliqué birds; and floral elements of bone, ivory and shell. Standing 90½ inches, the antique furnishing is estimated at $12,000-$18,000. The other Japanese lacquered cabinet features carved ivory and mother-of-pearl panels with depictions of birds and flowers. Standing on a base carved with chrysanthemums, the 81-inch tiered cabinet would suit a contemporary décor as easily as it would a home decorated with traditional antiques. Estimate: $6,000-$9,000.

Chinese and Sino-Tibetan bronzes and jades were secured from several sources, including estates in Texas and Tennessee. A highly unusual Chinese carved spinach jade three-piece headboard is of a type very rarely seen in the Asian art marketplace. The central panel features the female Bodhisattva Guanyin on a lotus base, flanked on either side by rectangular panes of matching spinach jade, with gilt calligraphy poems and figural relief carvings of celestial beauties and other images. Measuring 124½ inches long (overall), the headboard is estimated at $20,000-$25,000.

Elegant jewels from two important California collections include stunning rings, necklaces and bracelets incorporating jadeite, sapphires, diamonds and other precious gems. A gentlemen’s 18K white gold and diamond ring features a central jadeite cabochon of deep apple green weighing approximately 15 carats. It is surrounded by brilliant-cut round diamonds and flanked by baguettes that, in total, weigh 1.85 carats. Accompanied by a Hong Kong Jade Laboratory certificate, the ring could achieve $25,000-$30,000 at auction.

Another jewelry highlight is a ladies ring centered with a cushion-cut oval faceted ruby of blood-red color that weighs 14.30 carats. The ruby is surrounded by 5 carats of marquise- and baguette-cut diamonds that combine harmoniously to form a chic swirling motif. Of unquestionably superior quality, the ring is entered in the sale with a $25,000-$35,000 estimate.

The auction also contains 48 lots of Chinese snuff bottles of various forms, materials and colors. A pair of highly unusual, intricately carved ivory snuff bottles depicts two Chinese boys seated on openwork waves, each cradling a cat. The stopper for each bottle is fashioned to resemble a “hair” topknot. The sale also features many other Chinese and Japanese carved ivories, as well as silk embroideries and robes that came from a private collection in Marina del Rey, California.

Distinguished artworks from a Beverly Hills estate include both Asian and European selections. There are two Abstract Expressionist oil-on-canvas paintings by Kenzo Okada (Japanese/American, 1902-1982), one being a winter scene; the other a composition in muted blues with cobalt accents. Each has a pedigreed gallery provenance and a presale estimate of $30,000-$50,000. Leading the Continental works is an Auguste Renoir (French, 1842-1919) wax-cast bronze nude of a kneeling woman. The figure carries an identification mark for the Alexis Rudier Foundry in Paris and is artist-signed on the plinth. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000.

I.M. Chait’s Sunday, Sept. 23 Asian & International Fine Arts auction will commence at 1 p.m. Pacific time at the company’s gallery located at 9330 Civic Center Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com and Artfact.com.

For additional information on any lot in the sale or to obtain a fully illustrated color catalog ($35 + shipping), call 1-800-775-5020 or 310-285-0182; or e-mail joey@chait.com. Visit the company online at www.chait.com.





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