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Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at Sotheby's on 19th and 20th March
An Important Gilt-Bronze Votive Stele Of Guanyin Northern Wei Dynasty, est. $200/300,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- On 19th and 20th March 2013 Sotheby’s will present the bi-annual Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction as part of Asia Week New York. As ever the sale will be particularly focused on property from over 50 private collections. Among the highlights of these are A Private Japanese Collection, A Private North American Collection as well as many others formed by distinguished collectors over several decades. All works go on view on Friday 15th March.

Among the leading collections in the sale and opening the auction is A Private Japanese Collection of 53 lots which reflects the exquisite taste of the collector and their deep understanding of East Asian Art. It includes archaic Chinese bronzes, ceramics, jades and Buddhist art, as well as Korean metal-work and ceramics. Among the highlights is An Important Gilt-Bronze Votive Stele Of Guanyin, Northern Wei Dynasty, depicting bodhisattva Padmapani known as the “lotus bearer” that was especially popular in Chinese Buddhism (est. $200/300,000). A number of similar pieces are in the collections of major museums including the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Seattle Art Museum, the Tokyo National Museum, and the British Museum. This Japanese Collection was put together over several decades and has been published and exhibited widely. Also included in the collection is A Fine Molded ‘Ding’ Dish Northern Song Dynasty (est. $100/150,000) and A Finely Carved ‘Ding’ Dish Song Dynasty (est. $120/150,000).

A distinctive Private North American Collection includes a number of important pieces such as superb jade carvings and works of art. It was put together by a prominent Canadian and American family that travelled extensively in Asia, Europe and North America to find the best Chinese jade, porcelain, sculpture, and paintings. The collection was formed over several decades from the 1930s to the 1990s with pieces acquired from major auction houses and leading dealers. Among the highlights is A Pale Celadon Jade ‘Longevity’ Table Screen Qing Dynasty, 18th/19th Century filled with auspicious symbols (est. $60/80,000) and A Fahua 'Lotus' Jar Ming Dynasty, 16th Century (est. $40/60,000).

One of the outstanding highlights of the auction is An Imperial Qing Dynasty Green Jade ‘Dragon’ Seal that was recently discovered in the state of Washington (est. $1/1.5 million). The Green-Jade ‘Wufu Wudai Tang Guxi Tianzi Bao’ Seal was passed down through the family and was bequeathed to the current owner by his greatgrandfather, a United States Brigadier General who held various senior level positions across Europe before, during and immediately after World War II. The piece was stored for several decades at the home of the family who had no idea of the work’s value or importance until they contacted Sotheby’s experts earlier this year.

The seal was made to celebrate several important events in the Qianlong Emperor’s life and is one of the more important seals he used. At the beginning of the 1780s the Empire was prosperous and stable and so as he turned 70 the emperor instructed his artisans to carve a series of seals with the inscription ‘Guxi Tianzi’ meaning ‘Seal of the seventy year old son of heaven.’ When his first great-great grandson was born three years later the Emperor added to the inscription so it would read ‘Wufu Wudai Tang Guxi Tianzi Bao’ – ‘Seal of the Seventy year old Son of Heaven at the Hall of Five Happiness’s and Five Generations.’ Of all the seals made to commemorate these events, this is the largest.

A further jade highlight of the sale is A Finely Carved White Jade Vessel (Zun), Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period that comes from the collection of a Chinese American Family. The piece takes inspiration from the ancient bronze wine vessels known as zun which were used until the beginning of the Shang Dynasty (est. $350/450,000).

The Cannon Collection has a remarkable history having been hidden from occupying Japanese forces in a false ceiling. Lewis R. Andrews and his wife Hope, lived in Shanghai from 1919-1947; having served in the Northamptionshire Yeoman Cavalry in World War I, he became a Commander of the Shanghai Light Horse Volunteer Corps – an international military unit that protected the foreign compounds in Shanghai. The couple was interned by the Japanese during World War II. However, before the war he and Hope hid their Chinese art collection in a false ceiling in his house outside of Shanghai which the Japanese seized and use as their headquarters. After the war the Andrews and their collection moved to Tulip Hill, the historic landmark in Maryland. Among the works from the collection in the sale are a number of Dehua wares, formerly known as Blanc de Chine, that are increasingly sought after by collectors in both Asia and the US. Highlights include A ‘Dehua’ Figure Of Guanyin, Qing Dynasty, 17th Century (est. $15/25,000) and A Group Of Four 'Dehua' Wares, 17th/18th Century (est. $10/15,000).

From A Private Family Collection comes A Rare Celandon-Glazed Six-Necked Vasel(Liulianping), Qianlong Seal Mark and Period which has been in the family collection for at least three generations (est. $200/300,000). The vase has stayed with the family as they have moved from Hong Kong to Europe and then onto North America in the 1970s.

A Rare And Important 'Ding' Bowl Northern Song Dynasty is the highlight of Property From A New York State Family Collection (est. $200/300,000). The piece is characteristic of the finest ‘Ding’ works that are celebrated for their thin potting, fine near-white body, ivory-colored glaze, and exquisite decoration. The piece is exceptionally light with particularly thin and delicate carved flower motifs.

A further highlight of the sale is An Imperial Battle Painting From The Set Of Seventeen Paintings Commemorating The Campaign Victories In The Northwestern Region, 1862-1877 Qing Dynasty, Guangxu Period (est. $400/600,000). The impressive work belongs to a set of seventeen paintings depicting commemorative battle scenes between the Qing Imperial Army and the rebel forces in the northwest of China from 1862 to 1877. The whereabouts of only a few of these paintings are known, with one thought to be in the Royal Collection at Sandringham House.

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