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Spring Asian Decorative Arts Auction at Bonhams achieves $1.7 million
A pair of massive cloisonné enameled metal covered urns, 19th century. 35in (89cm) height inclusive of gilt wood stands. Sold for: $52,500; EST. $12,000-18,000. Image: Courtesy of Bonhams.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Bonhams San Francisco’s Asian Decorative Arts auction, March 12, started the spring season on a very strong note. A buoyant group of spirited floor, telephone and internet buyers contributed to the sale’s successful $1.7 million result, with 80% of lots sold.

Buyers were not shy to place their bids on fresh properties with conservative auction estimates. Jade carvings, porcelains and paintings remain popular sectors. A 19th century white jade covered vase sold for $13,750, far surpassing its pre-sale estimate of $2,500-3,000. Two white jade plaques, finely carved with traditional Chinese motifs, achieved $15,000, with a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-3,000.

In the paintings section, a hand scroll attributed to Fanlong, 12th century, was sold to a determined telephone bidder for $32,500 (pre-sale est. $3,000-5,000), and a collection of Chinese export paintings from the 19th century fetched $13,750 (pre-sale est. $3,000-5,000).

A pair of 19th century massive cloisonné enameled metal covered urns attracted strong interest in the sale and was sold to an international buyer for $52,500, far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of $12,000-18,000. A Chinese silver wine pot with Fengxiang Tang studio mark, achieved an impressive price of $25,000, soaring past its conservative pre-sale estimate.

One of the top performing lots in the Chinese ceramics section was a Longquan celadon grotto. Multiple rounds of fast-paced bidding ultimately priced this Ming Dynasty artwork at $62,500, versus its pre-sale estimate of $3,000-5,000. Fine Republic period porcelains maintained their popularity in the current market. A miniature eggshell porcelain vase painted with polychrome enamels by Wang Xiliang, dated 1944, started a bidding battle among multiple bidders before the lot was hammered down for $27,500 (pre-sale est. $3,000-5,000).

A group of fine quality Meiji and Taisho Period bronzes in the Japanese art section also drew enthusiastic bidding. A massive copper alloy brazier sold for $5,625 (pre-sale est. $1,500-2,000).

The sale ended with a small group of Tibetan arts. Buyers patiently awaited the very last lot, a 19th century Tibetan thangka of a lama. The thangka was finally hammered down at $6,250, multiples beyond its pre-sale estimate, putting an emphatic end to Bonhams' first Asian Decorative Arts auction of 2013.

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10.- Royal Ontario Museum announces appointment of Curator, Islamic Art & Culture

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