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The two major series of Asian art sales in London take place in November and May with a run of specialist sales and exhibitions at auction houses and dealers.

The November run is typically the larger of the two and includes Asian Art In London (November 2-11, 2017), the flagship event bringing together over 35 of the world’s top dealers, alongside leading UK auction houses and museums.


This 8in (20cm) bitong from the very early years of the emperor Kangxi (1661-1722) sold for £100,000 at Bonhams on May 11. The ladies on horseback are the female generals who defended the Song dynasty from the invading Tanguts.

New York

The most recent Asian art series in the Big Apple took place in early September while the other major sales of the year are traditionally held in March.

Asia Week New York – the city’s main event in this sector involving a mix of dealers, auctioneers and cultural institutions – coincides with the spring series and next year takes place from March 15-24.


This Jiaqing (1796-1820) mark and period ‘boys at play’ bottle vase with a lime-green ground, 12in (31cm) high, sold for $500,000 (£375,000) as part of Sotheby’s Important Chinese Art Sale in New York on September 13.


The main Asian art series in France take place in December and June when Sotheby’s, Christie’s and other major salerooms around the French capital, including those operating from the Hôtel Drouot, hold sales and events.

While major fairs dedicated to traditional Asian art have yet to become an established part of the calendar in Paris, a number of dealers choose to exhibit works at other events such as the Biennale des Antiquaires and the Parcours des Mondes, both in September.


This Qianlong jade carving in a celadon stone veined with rust featuring horses in a landscape fetched €225,000 (£200,000) in Joron-Derem’s sale at Drouot on June 23.

Germany and Austria

The main auction series for Asian art in central Europe takes place in June and early July when dedicated events are staged in cities including Zurich, Stuttgart, Berlin, Cologne and Vienna.

However, this summer leading German salerooms moved some of their auctions to nearby Brussels and Salzburg in response to the changes in legislation in Germany relating to the protection of cultural goods. The sales in the Belgian capital were also timed to attract interest in Asian art generated by the Cultures fair in Brussels in mid-June.


A gilded and lacquered wooden sculpture of the goddess Guanyin from the 17th or 18th century offered at Lempertz’s sale in Brussels in June. It sold at €80,000 (£69,570).

Hong Kong

The most important Asian art auction series in Hong Kong takes place in October and May. The former coincides with the Fine Art Asia fair which takes place this year from September 30 to October 3 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

One of the auction highlights at the upcoming series is this Song dynasty brush washer, one of the few examples of Ru Guanyao court ware still in private hands. It will be offered by Sotheby’s Hong Kong on October 3 with an estimate in excess of HK$100m.

Beijing and Shanghai

Domestic Chinese auctioneers include big players such as Poly International Auction, China Guardian Auctions and Beijing Council International but, according to a report by the China Association of Auctioneers, there are over 400 auction houses selling art and antiques in mainland China

Although Chinese works of art sourced from within China itself remain the staple of these firms, a number of Western firms are now operating in Beijing and Shanghai. Christie’s, for example, has two separate premises on the mainland (in addition to its Hong Kong operation), openinga space in the Dongchen District of Beijing in 2016.


A set of 12 Kangxi mark wucai ‘month’ cups depicting seasonal flowers, sold for a premium-inclusive RMB23.9m (£2.4m) at Beijing Poly’s 2017 spring sales series concluded on June 8.