Good examples of Asian art have long been sold across the UK regions. However, it is only a dozen years – just one revolution of the Chinese zodiac – since Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury held the first dedicated sale of Asian art outside London. That sale (with its £2.6m Yuan dynasty double gourd blue and white vase) started a snowball that continues to roll.
Today, many auctioneers operating outside the Asian Art in London umbrella hold late October and November sales designed to attract dealers, collectors and agents beyond Mayfair and into the shires. Here we present a selection of highlights from forthcoming events.
Tennants - November 18
This Japanese gilt and patinated bronze figure from the Meiji period is estimated at £4000-5000 in Tennants November 18 sale in Leyburn, North Yorkshire. It measures 12in (31cm) high and is signed Miya Sei.
Duke’s – November 16
A single-owner sale of Chinese Buddhist sculpture will lead Duke’s Asian offering in Dorchester on November 16.
The 45-lot collection was formed by Roger Moss, a former finance director of British Airways and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation in Hong Kong.
In his pursuit of Chinese sculpture, Moss built up an extensive reference library and engaged with academics, museum curators and fellow collectors. The noted scholar of Chinese art, Ann Paludan, remarked on a hand-written note to Moss in 2013: “I often think of your extraordinary, wonderful and unique collection.”
Estimated at £30,000-50,000 is this 18in (46cm) high Chinese stone Buddhist triad group from the Northern Wei Dynasty. Inspired by Indian models, it shows Buddha carved in the centre, flanked by two bodhisattvas and a pair of seated lions.
The Northern Wei rulers, who ruled northern China from 386-534 AD, were ardent supporters of Buddhism, a ‘foreign’ religion brought to the region from central Asia by traders and Buddhist missionaries.
Dreweatts – November 14
Dreweatts’ sale in Donnington Priory, Newbury, will feature this unusual Qing bat-shaped coral-glazed brush washer.
Modelled from two confronting iron-red bats with overlapping wings detailed in gold and protruding heads, the 4in (9.5cm) wide piece dates from the Daoguang or Guangxu period.
It was bought by the vendor’s mother in Penang c.1946-59 and is estimated at £250-500.
Canterbury Auction Galleries – November 28-29
This Japanese bronze elephant from the Meiji period is estimated at £1000-1500 at Canterbury Auction Galleries.
The 8½in (22cm) long piece was brought into a valuation day and belonged to the vendor’s grandfather.
Gorringe’s – November 28
Chinese archaic bronzes from the collection of the late antiques dealer Jean-Claude Lepileur will be offered in a stand-alone sale at Gorringe’s in Lewes, East Sussex.
Lepileur, a French dealer who dealt in France and London, is said to have identified two sketches by Rembrandt van Rijn on a Portobello Market stall, later authenticated by the Victoria and Albert Museum. But Lepileur’s emphasis was on Asian art, which he collected throughout his career.
Comprising nearly 80 lots, the bronzes date from the 12th century BC Shang dynasty to the 3rd century AD Han dynasty.
Included is this 14in (35cm) high Chinese archaic bronze ritual Zun wine vessel from the late Shang/early Western Zhou dynasty in the 12th-10th century BC.
It carries an estimate of £15,000-25,000.
Ewbank’s – November 9
The sought-after 20th century enamellist Duan Zian painted figures, countryside and mountains, and often in green, olive and brown tones, during the Republic years in Jingdezhen.
An example of his work will feature in Ewbank’s November 9 sale in Woking, Surrey. Walking on the Snow and hunting for plum blossom is a 15 x 10in (38 x 25cm) porcelain plaque estimated at £1000-1500.
Sworders – November 7
A Chinese silver bowl made by the retail silversmith Wang Hing & Co during the second half of the 19th century will go under the hammer at Sworders in Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex.
The 3½in (9cm) high piece, which comes in its original wood box, is decorated with two dragons chasing a flaming pearl. It is estimated at £1000-1500.
Matthew Barton – November 22
The Hindu kingdom of Champa occupied most of the southern half of modern Vietnam. It reached its greatest power and prosperity between the 8th-10th centuries, controlling the trade in spices and silk between large swathes of Asia and India, before their territory was gradually reduced from the north by the Vietnamese.
This 21in (53cm) mounted Cham stone head of a warrior dvarapala, with bulging eyes and thick raised eyebrows, will feature in Matthew Barton’s sale at 25 Blythe Road in London.
Prior to the 1990s it was in the collection of Parisian collector Yves Prunier, then in a private London collection, where it has been entered for sale carrying an estimate of £8000-12,000.
Toovey’s – November 30
The toughness and strength of jade was first utilised to manufacture weapons and tools. Over time, bronze blades came to replace stone weapons but they continued to be made, particularly for ceremonial purposes.
This 19in (49cm) jade dagger-axe blade dating from the late Shang/Zhou dynasty probably served as a ceremonial badge of office or as an emblem of rank.
Formerly owned by the prolific collector Harry Geoffrey Beasley, it is estimated at £7000-10,000 at Toovey’s sale in Washington, West Sussex.
Roseberys – December 5
Estimated at £5000-10,000 in Roseberys’ sale on December 5 in London is this pair of 4in (9.5cm) wide famille rose porcelain bowls. Each one is decorated with dragons using ‘anhua’, a subtle technique whereby the designs are faintly incised, moulded or slip-painted, often only visible when held against the light. According to the auction house, few pieces of Yongzheng porcelain with this combination of anhua and painted famille rose enamels are known to exist.
Cheffins – November 16
Cheffins’ sale in Cambridge will include this 18th century Chinese nephrite jade valued at £6000-9000. The jade is carved with four children riding an elephant in a mountain recess by a waterfall, while the reverse is carved with a single window amid a sea of rock.
It measures 5½in (14cm) high and is consigned from a deceased estate in North Yorkshire.
Hannam’s – November 8-10
Decorated with women in a landscape and bandings of flowers, this Kangxi blue and white baluster vase will go under the hammer at Hannam’s sale in Selhurst on November 8-10. The 15in (38cm) high piece bears apocryphal Chenghua marks to the base, often the case with Kangxi pieces, and is guided at £3000-5000.
Mallams – October 25-26
An 18th century Qing jade bowl and cover carries an estimate of £10,000-20,000 at Mallams’ sale in Cheltenham. It forms part of a group of hardstones and Peking glass purchased by a Swedish collector in the inter-war years and was consigned to the auction by his grandson. The jades offered by Mallams were bought mainly from established London dealers in the 1930s.
Halls – November 22
The late Pong Wing Shiu began collecting Asian art in the early 1900s, going on to amass a large collection of pottery, porcelain and works of art.
In 1975, at the age of 91, he sold 100 pieces from his collection to raise funds for the Tung Wah Group, an institute that operates over 200 community services centres in Hong Kong and China, realising the equivalent of £300,000.
This Chinese yellow-ground vase from the Republic period was among the pieces that remained with the family and has now been consigned by them to Halls’ sale in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, estimated at £15,000-20,000.
The 13in (34cm) high piece bears a Qianlong seal mark and is decorated with a famille rose landscape of mountains, trees and people, the neck applied with archaistic iron-red and gilt C-scroll handles.