A finely carved jade head of Buddha from the Liao Dynasty (907-1125) is among the highlights at this week’s Fine Art Asia (FAA) in Hong Kong.
Offered by Rasti Chinese Art of Hong Kong for $80,000, the head is comparable to Liao-period gold and silver funerary masks in the form of the eyes, nose and mouth, as well as the overall shape.
The object joins a range of top offerings from Asia and beyond including antiques, jewellery, silver and watches spanning five millennia.
The event, which runs from October 4-7 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, features 120 international dealerships.
Founded in 2006, it takes place during the high point of the Hong Kong art season, according to fair director Andy Hei, and is aimed at supporting the local art market as well as promoting “cultural exchange between East and West”.
This year, visitors will have access to additional Western dealerships with the launch of The Masterpiece Pavilion. The initiative brings over 15 regulars from Masterpiece London, such as Agnews, Apter-Fredericks and Ronald Philips, and features top items from their stock. It is part of a reciprocal arrangement, kicked off in June with the presence of FAA dealers at the Chelsea fair.
Due to the continuing civic unrest in Hong Kong, some of the original Masterpiece dealers withdrew from the fair, meaning the showcase is a reduction of original plans. However, plans are to expand into a stand-presentation format next year. In the meantime, dealers have hailed the partnership.
“Not only has there been an increase in visitor attendance over the years, the fair has become noticeably more upmarket and sophisticated,” says Lewis Smith of Koopman Rare Art, a returning FAA exhibitor, which will also take part in the new showcase. “The introduction of the Masterpiece Pavilion will provide additional prestige.”
Koopman’s highlights include a 19th century Chinese silver bowl made in Shanghai c.1890. It bears the maker’s mark DA JI and an inscription referencing Amoy Races – modern Xiamen – and was retailed by Hung Chong & Co.
Around the rest of the event dealers include antiquities specialist David Aaron from London, Chang’s Oriental Art of Taipei and Esmé Parish Silver from Singapore and Hong Kong with Chinese and Japanese export silver as well as English silver.
A special exhibition also is staged this year, 70 + 30, showcasing classical Chinese furniture and paintings from the private collections of fair director Andy Hei and his father Hei Hung-Lu (the collections together are known as ‘The Hei Formula’). The show’s title refers to the respective years of experience the two generations have had with antiques.
The fair is a prime opportunity for local and international buyers to snap up works, often with a cross-cultural appeal. It features an academic programme in partnership with the Hong Kong Art School.