The awards, co-sponsored by Antiques Trade Gazette, were presented at a gala evening at the British Museum on November 9. For the first time, to coincide with Asian Art in London's 20th anniversary, the award was split into two to acknowledge both dealers and auction houses.
Bonhams Bond Street won the first-ever AAiL award for an outstanding work offered by an auction house, for its Shibata Zeshin (1807-91) lacquer panel from the Misumi Collection, which sold privately before the sale of the collection (Part III) on November 8.
The roiro or black lacquer panel is decorated with bell crickets on grasses growing on a bank, set against a silver lacquer full moon, and embellished with silver dewdrops. Judges rated the sparing beauty of the design as an example of the mastery of lacquer work by a top Meiji-period artist, which is still in its original frame.
Priestley & Ferraro won the AAiL dealer award for its rare early Ming imperial red lacquer bowl stand, carved with dragons and lotus.
In another first for its 20th anniversary, AAiL gave a commendation award to Chiswick Auctions for a 30-metre long handscroll painting created in 1821 by Xu Naigu (1785 – 1835). It will be sold at Chiswick Auctions’ Fine Chinese Paintings sale on November 13.
The awards were judged by a panel including ATG’s contributing editor Anne Crane and museum curators from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and the Victoria & Albert Museum.