Post Auction Asian Art Feature
08 December 2015
Rare and Exquisite Finds from Asia
Roseberys London Fine Art Auction Wednesday 2 December 2015, London
A tiny Chinese stoneware incense burner, standing just 2in (5.5cm) high, [lot 1480] sold for an estimate-busting £9840 at Roseberys London on Wednesday 2 December.
Potted in 14th century, this diminutive vessel belongs to the category of Chinese ceramics known as jun wares – signature products of the Song, Yuan and early Ming dynasties that have long been venerated in East and West for their captivating blue, mushroom and lavender glazes.
Around 900 years ago Chinese potters discovered that the use of straw ash bestowed the unique glaze while varying the temperature of the kilns changed its colour. The few jun wares with crimson or purple hues remain the most highly prized.
This purple splash censer, a match-box-sized pot-bellied form on tripod feet, was particularly admired for a collecting history dating back to the immediate post-war years.
Not only did it carry a paper label to the base for Bluett & Sons, the Mayfair dealers in Oriental art established in 1884, but included with the lot was a handwritten note from Leonard Bluett, the son of the founder who had joined the firm in 1907. According to the note Bluett had given the censer as a gift to the Rt. Hon. Malcolm McDonald, the son of the former Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald, who was Commissioner General for South-East Asia from 1948-54 during the communist insurrection. It had been bought by the current vendor in 1968.
Despite the selectivity that had come with a slow-down in the Chinese economy, the market for many Asian works of art continues to thrive. Among other highlights of the 300-lot December Asian Art sale was a mid 19th century Qing dynasty ivory work box, typical of those made for export in the trading hub of Guangzou (or Canton as it was known in the West). Carved to all sides in deep relief with figures in leisurely pursuits within tree lined village landscapes, it opens to reveal a tray of various sewing accoutrements. Estimated at £2000-3000, it sold for £4920 [lot 1446].
Strong prices were also bid for two Chinese lots of early 20th century manufacture.
Sold at £6396 (estimate £700-1000) was a hardwood table top ten-drawer cabinet [lot 1511] applied with hardstone carvings against a ground of carved clouds. All Chinese art conveys meaning and here presence of dragons, phoenix and the central ‘double happiness’ symbol conferred joy, peace and good governance upon the owner.
Also bringing much more than expected at £6396 (estimate £800-1200) was a pair of square-form porcelain jardinières, painted to a yellow ground with panels of birds amongst blossoming foliage [lot 1435]. Yellow was the emperor’s colour in Imperial China but these jardinières were Republic period – a once overlooked category of Chinese porcelain that is now enjoying a renewed appreciation among Far Eastern buyers.
Prices include Buyers Premium of 23%.
For further information please contact Charlotte Meddings firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0) 20 8761 2522
Roseberys is a privately owned auction house operating at the heart of the fine art market for more than 25 years.
With offices in London’s Mayfair and Lambeth Roseberys offer a calendar of more than twelve specialist fine art, antiques and collectibles auctions each year.
Specialist sales include a wide range of Asian and Islamic Arts, Modern and Contemporary Art and Design, Decorative Art, Fine Silver and Jewellery, Ceramics, Paintings, Prints, Photography, Antique Textiles, Vintage Fashion and Fine Wine and Whisky.
Roseberys team of world-renowned specialists also provide a wide range of art market services to professional clients, including valuations for insurance and probate.
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