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I.M. Chait March 23 Post-Asia Week Auction in Beverly Hills tops $2.3 million, led by $350K bronze
Exquisite 16-piece carved ruby matrix dragon tea set with gilt mountings and accents, $219,600. I.M. Chait image.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA.- While traditional Asian art categories held on to their most-favored status at I.M. Chait’s March 23, 2014 Post-Asia Week Auction, other buying trends were noted at the $2.36 million sale that would indicate collectors are exploring new avenues. All prices quotes are inclusive of a 22% buyer’s premium.

“Clearly, Asian art collectors are expanding their horizons beyond the antique ceramics, jade and bronze that have been so highly prized over the years,” said Joshua Chait, operations manager at I.M. Chait. “A prime example is the 16-piece carved ruby matrix tea set that was entered in our auction with a $160,000-$180,000 estimate. It was not just a tea set; it was a flawless artwork, and collectors recognized it as such. It sold for $219,600.”

Embellished with gilt mountings and accents, the set included a covered teapot with a carved dragon inside, a chocolate/water pot, creamer, four claw-foot shallow dishes, four dragon-form teacups, serving accessories and a carved dragon centerpiece. A thick ruby zoisite freeform slab served as the tray.

The top lot of the sale was a superb 15th century early Ming Dynasty Xuande Mark and Period gilt-bronze Bodhisattva. The 9 7/8-inch figure elaborately decorated with cast “jewelry,” headdress and other adornments was chosen as the cover image for Chait’s printed catalog. It reached the high end of its estimate range, selling to an online buyer for $350,000.

Another category that showed strength was Chinese calligraphic scrolls and art. A striking ink-on-paper calligraphy by Wu Changshuo (1844-1927), signed with four seals of the artist and one collector’s seal of Chongsog (Pyong-U-Min), was bid to $73,200 against an estimate of $15,000-$20,000. Also having provenance from the prestigious Songwon Collection, a Chinese calligraphic couplet by Zhang Daqian, signed and dated July 1978, with two seals of the artist, soared past its $15,000-$20,000 estimate to reach $67,100.

A serene Chinese landscape painting on silk by Pu Ru (1896-1963), ex Songwon Collection, depicted craggy mountains, trees and a figure navigating a boat. It more than doubled its high estimate to achieve $48,800.

“It was a very busy sale with a lot of action from all sources,” said Chait. “There was a good mix of nationalities among bidders, but most who prevailed on the higher-priced lots were from Asia. We were very pleased that so many people in the room had flown in specifically for the sale. Some had attended Asia Week in New York and made a special stop en route home just to attend. We anticipated this would be the case and left no stone unturned in producing an auction that would meet, if not surpass, their expectations.”

This is the second year in which I.M. Chait has chosen to conduct its Asia Week Auction from their West Coast gallery, rather than at a Manhattan venue. “It has worked extremely well for us, and our clients have responded very favorably. We plan to continue this new policy going forward,” Chait said.

I.M. Chait’s next auction is slated for April 13 and will feature Asian art, antiques and estate items. The firm’s Asian & International Fine Arts Auction will take place on May 18.

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