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Asian Art Week at Christie's London taking place between 13 and 16 May 2014
A pair of famille rose coral-ground ‘peony’ bowls. Estimate: £30,000-50,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2014.

LONDON.- Christie’s Asian Art sales in London this spring will take place between 13 and 16 May, with a rich offering of dynamic, rare and beautiful works with stellar provenance, many of which are coming to the market for the first time in many decades. The sales include: The C. Philip Cardeiro Collection of Chinese Art and Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on 13 May at King Street; and at South Kensington: a new two-day sale format of Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles on 14 and 16 May.

The C. Philip Cardeiro Collection of Chinese Art: 13 May at 10am (Lot 1-125), Christie’s King Street - Bid via Christie’s LIVETM
Christie’s will be opening Asian Art Week at Christie’s in London with a selection of 125 Chinese works of art from The C. Philip Cardeiro Collection. Philip Cardeiro was born in 1930 in Boston, Massachusetts, and at a very early age developed a fascination with world art and culture. He immersed himself in museum exhibitions, recalling that the area he grew up in was replete with some of the best institutions in the country, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Amongst the myriad exhibitions he attended, he would later in life cite the 1980 Asia House exhibition Chinese Jades from Han to Qing as providing some of the inspiration for his jade collecting.

While Philip Cardeiro’s earliest interests included Greek and Roman art, he quickly branched out to the field of Chinese art. Mr Cardeiro was inspired by early pottery and works of art from China’s neolithic age, which at the time were the subject of much new research and scholarship. It was during this period, in the 1940s, that he made his first acquisition. Thereafter began a lifetime of collecting, which continued unabated for the next six decades, with the greatest bulk of his collecting taking place in the late 1960s and 70s. He epitomised the true collector, amassing a sizeable collection of porcelain, jades, cloisonné, scholar’s objects and furniture, amongst others. He would carefully research each piece, utilising the research library of comparable size which he had developed over the years. He greatly enjoyed searching for new objects, and would travel across the world in their pursuit. This included yearly buying trips to New England, London, and Asia. However, of equal enjoyment was researching his finds upon his return home.

Among the highlights from his collection in the current sale is a rare 18th/19th century zitan throne chair, baozuo, carved with dragons (estimate: £90,000-120,000) and a magnificent pair of finely carved 19th century zitan armchairs which fall into a group of mid-Qing Palace furniture, the most distinctive characteristics of which include heavily carved, highly ornamental decoration (estimate: £50,000–70,000). Further notable works include a rare large Kangxi Period (1662–1722) langyao copper red baluster-shaped vase, measuring 18 ¾ in. (47.5 cm.) high (estimate: £25,000–35,000), and a rare pair of 18th century famille rose enamelled ‘basket weave’ dishes, elegantly decorated with blossoming peony, chrysanthemum and magnolia flowers and foliage (estimate: £15,000-20,000).

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art: 13 May at 11.30am (Lot 130-230) & 2.30 pm (Lot 231-487) Christie’s King Street, Bid via Christie’s LIVETM
The Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale at Christie’s on 13 May features over 350 stellar examples of high quality works, many of which are offered fresh to the market and many from important private collections, with long established notable provenance. The sale presents works dating from the Shang Dynasty (circa 1600-1100 B.C.) through to the 20th century, spanning a wide array of media including ceramics, jade and hardstone carvings, painting and furniture. With attractive estimates ranging from £2,000 up to £300,000, the sale is expected to realise in excess of £5.5 million.

The rich offering of porcelain is led by The Andrew Look Collection which comprises 40 lots of Daoguang Imperial Porcelain (1821-1850) (lots 300-339). Mr Look will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale to St James’ Settlement, Hong Kong: He is also planning to set up a scholarship to fund students who cannot afford higher education. A very successful strategist and analyst in the financial sector in Hong Kong and also the author of two best-selling non-fiction books, Andrew Look owes his initial interest, as a collector, in Daoguang porcelain to his grandfather Lo Yuk Tong. In the early years of 1942 his grandfather bought a vase from one of his tenants, in order to provide the tenant with enough funds to enable him and his family to leave Hong Kong. Lo Yuk Tong was not himself an art collector, and when his grandson was still a young boy he gave him the vase. It was a Daoguang vase of fanghu shape with Guan-type glaze, and both the beauty of the vase and the story of how it entered his grandfather’s possession inspired the boy. From a young age Look appreciated both the fine aesthetic qualities and the technological merits of porcelains of this period.

In the 1970s and 1980s few collectors were interested in later Qing porcelains, and so Look was able to find good examples in the antique shops on Hollywood Road, where he would spend his laisee money (利是, in Mandarin lishi, or hongbao 紅包 red packet money). He collected some 30 to 50 pieces before leaving Hong Kong to study. Returning in 1986, Andrew Look resumed his searches on Hollywood Road. He was able to train his collector’s eye by attending evening courses in antique appreciation run by Mr. Ho Ping-chung at Hong Kong University, until Ho Ping-chung left Hong Kong for Singapore. It is generally agreed that the reign of Tao Kuang [Daoguang] saw the last porcelains of truly imperial quality. Although fewer imperial porcelains were made during the Daoguang reign than, for example, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, it is clear that no expense was spared in their production, and quality remained high, with wide ranging designs, reflecting both the artistic and technological developments of the high Qing, and the specific interests of the Daoguang period.

Highlights from his collection include a pair of famille rose coral-ground ‘peony’ bowls (estimate: £30,000-50,000); a rare pair of doucai floral bowls (estimate: £40,000-60,000); and a pair of finely painted and inscribed famille rose ‘three rams’ bowls (estimate: £25,000-35,000).

Among the notable porcelain elsewhere in the sale, the cover lot is a rare and finely enamelled pair of famille rose jars and covers, Daoguang period (1821-1850) which are from the Property of a Distinguished Swiss Family having been acquired in Paris in the early 1950s (estimate: £100,000-150,000). The current pair of jars and covers are exceptionally well decorated and rare. No other identical examples are known to date. The decoration is perfectly balanced with the ideal amount of white-ground on each vase, in order to highlight the softness of the enamels. Peonies, hibiscus, begonia, chrysanthemums and asters are depicted growing naturally in a garden, with the details carefully rendered in vibrant colours. Begonias have inspired Chinese craftsmen since the Tang dynasty, providing both shapes and decoration and are specially well-painted in the current jars. The hibiscus and peony provide a rebus for: ‘May you have splendour, wealth and honour’. The depiction of motifs in a continuous scene between coloured-grounds contoured by ruyi-heads appear to be much favoured on Daoguang famille rose porcelains.

A further important porcelain is a rare large Ming-style blue and white ‘lotus bouquet’dish, Qianlong six-character seal mark in underglaze-blue and of the period (1736-1795), from the Property of a Private European Collector (estimate £100,000-120,000). It is modelled after blue and white ‘lotus bouquet’ dishes from the Ming period. Such dishes with lotus designs belong to an important group of early Ming wares together with ‘grape’ dishes, ‘melon’ dishes and ‘dragon’ dishes. It is rare to find a Qianlong marked dish with this design, as it is more common to find these blue and white ‘lotus bouquet’ dishes with Yongzheng marks.

Among the jades and hardstones featured, the most valuable lot is a large and impressive finely-carved celadon and russet jade ruyi sceptre, 18th century, which was formerly from a private French collection, circa 1960 (estimate: £200,000-300,000). The inscription reads Chen Xu Da Gong Zhu, which can be translated as 'With blessings from your lowly servant Xu Da'. This would suggest that the present sceptre was commissioned as a tribute to the Emperor by one of his subordinates, Xu Da. A sceptre of this nature is very rare, not only due to the sheer size of the boulder required to carve it, but also due to the exceptional pale stone and the outstanding quality of the carving and polish. The ruyi sceptre has been a longstanding auspicious symbol in Chinese art and came into particular fashion within the Qing dynasty when it was often used as a gift to the Emperor on his birthday. This sceptre further conveys feelings of good fortune as it is finely carved with a multitude of auspicious fruits and symbols. The peach, finger citron and pomegranate represent the ‘Three Abundances’, Sanduo and allude to a prosperous long life with many sons. The bat, fu refers to wealth and riches and is a homophone to the character fu, meaning good fortune and happiness. Bamboo, zhu, combined with peaches, tao, are often used as a birthday greeting indicating longevity, immortality and flexibility.

From the Property of a Lady comes a large and finely carved white jade ‘peach and bat’ group, Qianlong period (1736-1795) (estimate: £30,000-50,000). The superb quality of the carving exemplifies the high level of craftsmanship achieved by the jade carvers working under the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. The subject of peaches and bats is very popular in art of the Qing period as it is imbued with auspicious connotations. As peaches denote longevity and bats signify happiness, imagery combining peaches and bats represent the blessing ‘may you possess both longevity and happiness’.

Collected over more than 50 years, Property from a Private Asian Collection (lots 173-211) presents 38 tourmaline lots, comprising an impressive array of snuff bottles, pendants and other small jewel-like carvings that showcase the wide variety of colours that can be seen in this hardstone, ranging from vibrant pink and lavish purple to lavender blue and emerald green. The incredible skill of the carver is particularly evident in pieces known as ‘watermelon’ tourmaline, which refers to carvings taken from a cross-section of tourmaline naturally formed with a pink centre and an outer green layer. In these pieces the carver cleverly utilises the contrast between the two colours to define separate features of the depicted subjects. This is demonstrated by a 19th century green and pink tourmaline belt hook, carved to depict a crouching chilong grasping a lingzhi branch in its mouth facing a dragon head; the stone of an attractive pale pink tone, shading to a dark green (estimate: £10,000-15,000). Other charming works include a large 19th century model of an elephant in an attractive and even bright pink tone (estimate: £8,000-12,000). In contrast to orthodox views, recent scholarship has indicated that tourmaline carvings were not only made during the late Qing Dynasty or Republic period, but also produced earlier during the 18th and 19th centuries.

A small private collection of 19 Mughal style jades from a Private European Collection, collected in the 1970s and 1980s, present mostly celadon and some spinach jades. It is unusual to find a western collection focused on Mughal style jades. The group includes a deep and finely carved and pierced Mughal-style pale celadon jade floral bowl of a semi-translucent stone, 18th/19th century (estimate: £25,000-40,000) and an elegant 19th century Mughal-style pale celadon jade wine pot and cover, elaborately carved with stylised scrolling leaves (estimate: £10,000-15,000).

Reflecting the continually growing demand for huanghali furniture and building on the success of the last sale, furniture highlights include an impressive huanghuali altar table of a rich and warm light honey tone, qiaotouan, Ming dynasty, 17th century, which is offered from the Property of a Distinguished Swiss Gentleman (estimate:£200-300,000). A rare and important ‘dragon and phoenix’ huanghuali mirror stand, wupingfengshijingtai , Ming dynasty, 17th century is an example of the mirror stands which were placed on dressing tables for ladies, with the mirrors standing against the central panel and held up with a U-shaped support; cosmetics and ornaments were stored in the drawers located to the lower front (estimate: £40,000-60,000).

Further notable pieces include a large 19th century huanghuali and hardwood cabinet, fangjiaogui, which is among the Property from the Collection of Mr. Cheng Huan, Q.C., S.C. (lots 457-459 & 475) (estimate: £30,000-50,000). Christie’s is delighted to offer this selection of Chinese works of art from the collection of Mr Cheng Huan S.C., which has been kept at Stockton House in Wiltshire, England, for many years. Mr Cheng has close ties with China, where he is a member of the Peoples’ Consultative Conference for the Province of Fujian, and also Hong Kong, where he is a well-known advocate, an Adjunct Professor at City University and Director of the Chinese Overseas Friendship Association. He began collecting Chinese works of art over forty years ago and bought from reputable London dealers including Spink and Son Ltd. and at major auction houses including Christie’s.

Further to the success of the paintings which were offered in the London sale in autumn 2013, this season’s offerings are led by Boat in a Mountainous Landscape, 1964, by Fu Baoshi (1904-1965) which is offered for the first time in over 40 years from a Private English collection (estimate: £100,000 - 150,000). A hanging scroll, executed in ink and colour on paper, it is inscribed and signed with two seals of the artist. Providing opportunities across different price levels of the market, the sale also includes a set of nine etchings from palaces, pavilions and gardens created by Giuseppe Castiglione in the Imperial Ground at Yuanming Yuan at the Summer Palace, Beijing (estimate: £10,000 – 15,000). These engraved plates after Castiglione are printed on vélin de Rives. The original etchings were created between 1783 and 1786 for the Emperor Qianlong and portray the edifices, gardens and palace grounds constructed from 1737 to 1766 and painted by the Jesuit missionary to the Chinese court, Guiseppe Castiglione known as Lang Shining.

Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles: 14 & 16 May, both at 10.00am & 2.00 pm, Christie’s South Kensington - Bid via Christie’s LIVETM
This season, Christie’s South Kensington will introduce a new sale format during Asian Art week at Christie’s in London, which will be repeated in London in November and beyond: a two-day sale of Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles. This sale extends what was previously a one day sale of the same title and replaces the Interiors sale dedicated to Chinese Art, comprising a similar overall number of lots. Increasing, rather than limiting, collecting opportunities across multiple price points and periods, the new sale format on the 14th and 16th May features approximately 750 lots in total, spanning over one thousand years of Chinese art, from the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC) to Republic period (1912-1949). The sale offers a strong array of porcelain, jade and other hardstones, cloisonné enamel, bronzes, snuff bottles, paintings and textiles. Providing established and new collectors with great opportunities to buy quality works with established provenance, estimates range from £1,000 up to £50,000; the sale as a whole is expected to realise in the region of £2.5 million.

The strong selection of jades offered across both days is led by the catalogue cover lot: a pale celadon jade boulder depicting the arhat Angaja, Qianlong period (1736-1795) (estimate: £30,000 – 50,000). The auction presents jades from several private UK, European and Asian collections, including the Collection of Cheng Huan, Q.C., S.C.,which was amassed from the 1970s through to the 1990s and features notable examples of jades from all periods, such as a white jade oval plaque, 18th/19th century (estimate: £6,000-8,000). Further notable examples include a white and russet jade ‘twin geese’ group, Qianlong period (1736-1795) from the Property from an Important Swiss Collection (estimate: £8,000 – 12,000).

The very prominent section of Republic Porcelain reflects the continuing growth of demand for works from this later period (1912-1949). The works offered provide excellent examples of the virtuosity of the Republic period porcelain artists and include two private collections: an American Collection amassed in Hong Kong in the 1940s to 1960s and the Property of a Private Australian Collector, assembled circa 1950 to 1972. After the establishment of the Republic, artists were no longer limited to the formulae previously dictated by Imperial patronage. Highlights include a charming famille rose plaque (estimate: £15,000 – 20,000); a famille rose bottle vase, iron red and gilt Songyun Zhencang mark (estimate: £10,000 – 15,000); a famille rose and en grisaille plaque (estimate: £8,000 – 12,000); and sixteen famille rose plaques (estimate: £3,000 – 5,000), which are the Property of a Private Australian Collector, assembled circa 1950 to 1972.

The earlier porcelain featured from the Qing dynasty ranges from a blue and white brush pot, bitong, Kangxi Period (1662-1722) (estimate: £15,000-20,000) from the Property of a Private European Collector, to a pair of famille rose coral-ground bowls and covers, Daoguang Period (1821-1850), underglaze blue xiezhu zhuren marks (estimate: £10,000-20,000), which are offered for the first time in over 30 years, having been acquired from Christie’s London in 1983.

From the E.T. Hall Collection Christie’s South Kensington is pleased to offer a further a group of twenty one 18th century monochrome vases, in addition to those in the King Street sale. They include an aubergine-glazed ‘dragon’ dish, incised Qianlong six-character seal mark and of the period (1736-1795) (estimate: £4,000-6,000) and a guan-type vase, hu, 18th century, which was exhibited with the Oriental Ceramic Society, in the Iron in the Fire exhibition, Oxford 1988 (estimate: £3,000-5,000).

A stellar group of approximately thirty seven textiles will be offered, with magnificent examples including a brown-ground court robe for an Imperial duke, jifu, 19th century, which is part of the property offered from The Collection of Werner Forman (1921-2010), a London-based Czech award-winning photographer with an extensive and eclectic collection (estimate: £15,000– 20,000) and an Imperial turquoise gauze court robe, Jifu, mid-19th century (estimate: £15,000-20,000). Turquoise robes were reserved for Imperial concubines and female members of the Imperial family.

Reflecting the breadth and depth of the works at South Kensington this season, further highlights in other mediums include a selection of 20th century Chinese Paintings from two private collections, led by an inscribed and signed ink painting by Yang Yanwen (b.1939), Green Trees at £3,000-5,000 from a private European collection, a 17th century parcel-gilt bronze ‘qilin’ censer from the Collection of Cheng Huan, Q.C., S.C., (estimate: £6,000-8,000) Lot 1036: 42780526; and an order of the Double Dragon gold medal, Type 3, Third class, circa 1900 (estimate: £10,000-15,000). The Order of the Double Dragon was awarded to foreigners for services to the Guangxu Emperor (1875-1908), this particular medal was awarded to Dr. Thomas Laurie Brander, M.D., J.P. for his service to wounded Chinese soldiers during the first Sino-Tibetan War (1894-1895).

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