Freeman's Asian Arts Auction offers coveted huanghuali furniture

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Freeman's Asian Arts Auction offers coveted huanghuali furniture
A pair of finely figured Chinese huanghuali yolk-back armchairs. The pair (Lot 143) is offered at an estimate of $80,000-120,000.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freeman’s has announced the catalogue for its October 18 Asian Arts auction, now available online. Ben Farina, Head of Freeman’s Asian Arts department, said, “I am delighted that the sale is led by a pair of finely figured Chinese huanghuali yolk-back armchairs, a set expertly handcrafted in 17th/18th-century China.” The pair (Lot 143) is offered at an estimate of $80,000-120,000.

Following the $948,000 sale of a pair of huanghuali armchairs in Freeman’s April Asian Arts auction, the present lot brings a highly collectible and richly figured pair of Chinese furniture to market.

Farina added, “These chairs are significant not only for their form—which would have been reserved for the most important guest or family members of the highest rank in a wealthy Chinese household—but also for the beauty of the grain of the wood. The serpentine splats display an exuberant, flame-like figure, elevating an already desirable form.”


Asian Arts offers selected work of Chinese calligraphy, paintings, and seals from the collection of Dr. Nathan Sivin (1931-2022), an eminent Sinologist and academic. Dr. Sivin and his wife, Carole Delmore Sivin, personally knew many of the important Chinese artists, historians, scientists, and scholars represented in the collection. Several works are dedicated to “Xi Wen” (Dr. Sivin’s Chinese name) by the author or artist, including Huang Junbi’s “Waterfall in a Misty Mountainous Landscape” (Lot 149; estimate: $7,000-9,000).

Dr. Sivin’s esteemed collection displays his broad scholarly interests in the culture and history of China; the calligraphy includes works written in characters derived from ancient oracle bones and bronze ceremonial vessels, as well as quotations from classical writings in clerical and running scripts, as in Aisin Gioro Puru’s “Ju Zhu Bo Lu Xiansheng Zhi Jia Ge Yan” (Lot 155; estimate: $15,000-25,000).


Japanese arts are well represented by an attractive collection of finely executed Japanese lacquers from the estate of Stanley Daniel Fishman, including an exhibition-quality Japanese lacquered table screen (Lot 175; estimate: $7,000-10,000) and a very finely decorated Japanese lacquer low writing table (Lot 176; estimate: $2,000-3,000).

Also of note is a selection of Japanese shinhanga woodblock prints from the collection of Mr. Joel S. Trosch. Shinhanga (“New Prints”) were a revitalization of the traditional Japanese woodblock print, utilizing traditional techniques but illustrating modern themes and subjects, such as Western-style landscapes, as in Kakuken Tsuruoka’s “Golden Gate Bridge in Fog” (Lot 213; estimate: $1,000-1,500).


Asian Arts includes porcelains and Chinese furniture and decorative arts formerly in the collection of Harry J. Haon II (1901-1989), led by a Chinese pale blue glazed porcelain bowl (Lot 39; estimate: $5,000-7,000). Mr. Haon was employed by E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, and was promoted in 1954 to serve in the Foreign Relations Department as Manager of the European Office in London until his retirement in 1962. He continued to live part-time in London into the late 1970s, and its believed that many of the Asian arts in his collection were acquired during this period.


Qi Baishi’s “Eleven Chicks and a Worm” (Lot 142; estimate: $7,000-9,000), an elegant and playful work, comes to Freeman’s from a private collection, and was formerly in the important Chinese art collection of Captain and Mrs. Sergius N. Ferris Luboshez and exhibited at the University of Maryland Art Gallery in 1972.

The sale offers a range of exceptional Chinese vase forms, including a gilt-repoussé-embellished cloisonné vase (Lot 77; estimate: $20,000-30,000), a pair of champlevé cloisonné enamel gilt metal gu-form vases (Lot 79; estimate: $25,000-35,000), and an unusual Longquan celadon Ming dynasty “Champion” vase (Lot 20; estimate: $6,000-8,000).

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