Bonhams – November 7
The apricot-orange colour known as xinghuang was one of the ‘Five Imperial Yellows’ used at the Qing court. Garments of this colour could only be worn by princes and princesses of the First Rank and Imperial consorts of the Second and Third Degree.
This Imperial kesi above probably dates to the 1880s and may have been worn by the Guangxu emperor (1871-1908) during the earlier years of his reign or when heir apparent to his mother, the formidable Dowager Empress Cixi. Worked with nine five-clawed dragons, the Twelve Imperial Symbols and the Eight Buddhist Emblems, among the extra colours used is aniline purple, a dye favoured by Cixi which was only first imported into China from Europe c.1863.
It comes for sale at Bonhams on November 7 from ‘a Western private collection’ with an earlier 1997 provenance to Qing textiles specialist Linda Wrigglesworth.
Christie’s – October 30-November 6
The Van Daalen Collection of Chinese Art is being sold by Christie’s in two parts: as 15 lots in the sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on November 5 and as a more diverse online sale with bidding running from October 30-November 6.
The collection was formed by Albert van Daalen Roel, a direct descendent of Jan Albert Sicheterman (1692-1764), a director of the Dutch East India Company and governor of Bengal. In the fashion of the time he returned home to Groningen after 27 years of service with several lavish Chinese porcelain dinner services displaying the Sicheterman coat-of-arms.
Pieces with this distinctive armorial centred by a nut-munching red squirrel are included in the sale, such as this large 16in (40cm) ‘Verte Imari’ dish c.1730 estimated at £1500-2000.
Nagel – December 5-6
During Asian Art in London, German auction house Nagel takes the opportunity to preview objects for sale in Salzburg on December 5-6.
Among the pieces on view will be this pair of 9in (22cm) Daoguang mark and period green dragon jars and covers that have been in a south German family collection since the early 20th century. They will carry an estimate of €15,000-25,000.
Chiswick Auctions – November 11-12
The Asian art series of sales at Chiswick Auctions on November 11-12 includes an expanded offering of Japanese art. This 16in (40cm) Kakiemon figure of a bijin, c.1680, is fresh to the market from an English private collection.
This particular piece was modelled after the famous courtesan, Tokuko Yoshino (1606-43), from the Shimabara ‘pleasure district’ in Kyoto. Many similar figures were exported by the Dutch East India Company to the treasure houses of Europe in the late 17th century. Estimate £5000-7000.
Sotheby’s – November 6
Sotheby’s sale of Important Chinese Art on November 6 includes this 7in (17cm) Qianlong mark and period copper-red decorated moonflask.
Intricately painted with a complex geometric design, the form and decoration of this flask closely follows an early Ming (Yongle) blue and white prototype inspired by Middle-Eastern designs.
It is one of three similar vessels collected by Robert C Bruce (1898-1953) and has come by descent. Two others were sold by Sotheby’s in 1953 and 1979. Estimate £30,000-50,000.
Bonhams – November 6
Robert S Huthart, the Newcastle-born manager of the Hong Kong department store conglomerate Lane Crawford, was first introduced to netsuke on a visit to Tokyo when he was given of a copy of The Wonderful World of Netsuke by Raymond Bushell.
His focus became the distinctive netsuke produced by late 18th and early-19th century carvers based in the seaboard province of Iwami (present-day Shimane Prefecture).
Bonhams sold the first part of the Huthart collection of Iwami netsuke in New Bond Street in May. The second tranche goes under the hammer on November 6. It includes, estimated at £2500-3000, this umimatsu (sea-pine) netsuke of a beetle on a decaying branch fully signed on a polished rectangular reserve by Tsuramitsu (1793-1859).
Mallams – October 30-31
This 13in (32cm) bronze figure of a Daoist priest holding a vase is dated to the late Ming period. It comes for sale at Mallams in Cheltenham on October 30-31 from a Cotswolds vendor who had inherited it from his parents. It was taken to the recent BBC Antiques Roadshow valuation day in Compton Verney. Estimate £3500-4500.
Roseberys – November 11
This spinach jade marriage bowl, dated to the Qianlong period, comes for sale at Roseberys London on November 11 by descent from a Dutch East India collection. The 9in (23cm) vessel has dragonfly-form handles with wings resting on the rim of the bowl and bodies suspending loose ring handles. It is estimated at £10,000-15,000.
Lempertz – December 6-7
This 18th century Tibetan thangka of a preaching Buddha, 3ft 4in 2ft 3in (1.01m x 68cm) is one of the pieces German auction house Lempertz will bring to Asian Art in London ahead of a sale in Cologne on December 6-7.
Acquired at Schoettle-Ostasiatica, Stuttgart, in May 1976, it comes from the collection of the artist-photographer Gerda Sökeland (1931-2013). It is estimated at €15,000-20,000.
Lyon & Turnbull – November 6
Ding ware, one of the Five Great Wares of the Song dynasty (960-1279) period produced in Ding Xian (modern Chu-yang) in Hebei Province, is most commonly seen with incised decoration of lotus or lily. The three-clawed dragon adorning this 7in (17cm) dish is a rarity.
It will be offered in Lyon & Turnbull’s Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art on November 6 at The Hellenic Centre, London W1. It comes from a private Japanese collection with an estimate of £12,000-15,000.
Jonathan Tucker and Antonia Tozer
This 13th century bronze of the kneeling monkey god Hanuman is a container for lime that was eaten with betel nuts. The 7in (18cm) monkey is depicted offering a ring in his right paw, a reference to an episode from the ancient India Sanskrit epic Ramayana.
This example, in the Banyon style from the Angkor period of the Khmer Empire, comes from the estate of a private English collector who had bought it in the 1970s
The asking price from Jonathan Tucker and Antonia Tozer is £7500.
Woolley & Wallis – November 12-13
The Chinese word yingxiong – meaning champion or hero – can be achieved by combining the words for bird (ying) and mythical bear (xiong). This large 13½in (34cm) Qing black and celadon jade yingxiong group comes for sale at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury on November 12-13 by descent from the collection of Rev Victor Farmer (1898-1977). The estimate is £8000-12,000.
The first acquisitions of the Farmer collection began in the late 19th century when William Farmer went to Hong Kong in 1888 to work as a hotel manager. His son Victor, a chairman of ICI who took holy orders after leaving Shanghai in the 1950s, was a member of the Oriental Ceramic Society.
Woolley & Wallis – November 12-13
This 17in (43cm) model of the mythical rain-bringing dragon fish, the shachihoko, is a striking example of a jizai okimono - lifelike, articulated animal figures popular in the last decades of Edo-period and Meiji Japan.
Its body is constructed from numerous hammered iron plates that allow it to bend from head to tail. The fins and jaws are also moveable.
From a private collection, it carries an estimate of £4000-6000 at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury on November 12-13.
Raquelle Azran Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art
Veneration of the ancestors remains central to Vietnamese culture. Past generations offer emotional support while the living attend to the ancestors on a daily basis, offering fresh fruit and flowers at a small altar which can be found in every Vietnamese home.
Vu Thu Hien, a mid-career Vietnamese artist represented by Raquelle Azran Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art, has chosen the subject as the primary narrative in her work.
In this 3ft 7in x 2ft 5in (1.1m x 80cm) watercolour on handmade paper titled Generations of Grace from 2018, the central figure in blue is surrounded by half-shadowed faces and figures while the division of the work into three vertical parts symbolises the unity of past, present and future.
Priced at £7500.
This profusely carved and pierced Cantonese ivory basket c.1820, priced at €21,000 by Maastricht dealer Guus Roell who is a regular at Asian Art in London, comes with a handwritten note reading Ivory Basket HH given to me by my Mother December 1866. Bought from China by her sister Lady Urmstow and given to my Mother before her marriage in 1823.
The monogram HH stands for Harriet Hanson (1802-66), the daughter of John Hanson of Great Bromley Hall, Essex, who married wine merchant John William Bridges on September 4, 1823.
Her sister Elizabeth was married to Sir James Brabazon Urmston of Chigwell House, Essex who was Chief of All Affairs of the British Nation in China from 1819-26. The Urmston Road, a waterway between the island Lantau and Tuen Mun in Hong Kong, is named after him.
Bonhams – November 7
Bonhams conducts a sale titled Masterpieces of Japanese art from a Royal Collection on November 7 at New Bond Street.
Among the highlights are works by the revered lacquer artist Shibata Zeshin (1807-91). Leading the sale is this large-scale 2ft x 15in (61 x 38cm) panel of a farmhouse in the snow at Sano. The scene, taken from the Noh play Hachi no ki, shows the impoverished courtier Tsuneyo Genzaemon offering hospitality to Lord Hojo Tokiyori disguised as a wandering monk. It is signed in gold maki-e characters Gyonen nanajunana Koma Zeshin sei (Made by Koma Zeshin, aged 77) and is dated 1883.
An accompanying receipt records its sale in Japan in April 1926 for Yen3750 but it has a much more recent auction history, having been sold by Bonhams in November 2014.
This November it has an estimate of £300,000-500,000.
This finely carved sculpture from the Jin dynasty (265-420) is of a type known in China as yunren – literally meaning ‘iron man’. It was designed specifically to hold a flat metal plate and other tools for ironing fabric or clothes.
Three closely comparable Jin pottery stands of similar proportions with stylised bear finials were excavated from Henan province but this example, from dealer Ben Janssens, is carved from stone. It is priced at £12,000.
Chiswick Auctions – November 11
The Fine Chinese Paintings sale at Chiswick Auctions on November 11 will include this rediscovered set of six works by the Kangxi period court artist Jiang Tingxi (1669-1732).
The ink and colour on silk album leaves, each measuring 15½x 16in (40 x 41cm), are believed to be part of the Compendium of Birds album, a monumental natural history work depicting 360 birds and lengthy texts completed around 1721.
The original version left the Palace collection in the early 20th century and was sold piecemeal in Europe, meaning the album is best known from a copy commissioned later in the 18th century by Kangxi's cousin, the Qianlong emperor,. These later versions by the artists Zhang Weibang and Yu Sheng are in teh collection of the Palace Museum.
These six works, depicting cockerels of various types, are all marked with the seals of Jiang Tingxi. They come for sale from a Scottish private collection by descent from Charles Blair (1856-1943), owner of a tea plantation in Ceylon. They were possibly acquired in Singapore between 1928-32. Estimate £20,000-30,000.
Dreweatts – November 11
The opening 16 lots of the sale of Chinese ceramics and works of art at Dreweatts of Donnington Priory on November 11 come from the family of Lt Col William Roy Hodgson (1892-1958), an Australian soldier, public servant and diplomat.
It was during the period from September 1949 to April 1952, when he was Australian minister to Japan, that his Chinese collection was formed under the advice of Prof Fujio Koyama of Tokyo National Museum.
Among the items purchased in Tokyo in the early 1950s was this Ming, blue and white Eighteen Scholars stem cup probably from the probably Wanli (1563-1620) period. The estimate is £5000-7000.
On November 12 Dreweatts also holds an auction of Japanese, Islamic, Indian and tribal works of art.
Contemporary gallery Jonathan Cooper features Chinese artist He Xi in its inaugural Asian Art in London show. Outside the Lines is the painter’s first UK solo exhibition.
He Xi works with traditional ink and pigments and uses classic Chinese motifs. Works are priced between £7500-45,000 and include The Fish Being Watched II measuring 17 x 18½in (43 x 47cm).
The Pedestal – November 19
This striking late Edo period iron and red lacquer face mask or mempo (estimate £700-100) is from a collection of Japanese arms and armour and works of art offered as part of the Fine Interiors auction held by The Pedestal at Moor Park Mansion in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, on November 19.
From the 1980s Patrick Donald lived in Putney, London, surrounded by objects reflecting his twin collecting passions - Elizabethan and Jacobean oak furniture and the arts of Japan.
He became fascinated samurai clothing and weaponry while a youth in Canada studying kendo, the martial art for which he obtained a black belt.
Littleton & Hennessy
A miniature Beijing enamel hu vase is the highlight at Littleton & Hennessy’s Asian Art in London exhibition.
The Qianlong mark and period piece made in the imperial workshops measures only 2¼in (5.7cm) high. It is decorated with lingzhi mushrooms and bats, symbolising longevity and happiness in falangcai (foreign) enamels.
Similar to a vase in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, this example is offered for £100,000.
Christie’s – November 5
This 7½in (19cm) Ming dynasty gilt-bronze Buddhist sculpture of Shakyamuni Buddha dates from the 15th century or earlier. In a UK private collection since the 1970s, it is estimated at £50,000-80,000 at Christie’s sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on November 5.
With a hunch that the original consecration ‘relics’ may still be intact, Christie’s staff chose to have the piece X-rayed (also above) to show the contents of the interior. The image revealed a most unusual miniature bronze Buddha and a miniature stupa placed inside six centuries ago.
Duke’s of Dorchester - November 11
The Duke’s of Dorchester sale on November 11 is headlined by items from a local resident and well-known auctioneer, academic and collector, Anthony du Boulay.
This finely painted 14in (35cm) Ming blue and white ‘Dragon and Phoenix’ basin belongs to a rare group of large and individualistic blue and white vessels produced in this short reign of the Zhengtong emperor (1436-49).
Showing a continuation of the Yongle and Xuande styles, it is one of only two known basins of imperial quality from the period. Acquired by du Boulay from Roger Keverne in 1997, it carries an estimate of £40,000-60,000.
Martindale Chinese Art
Martindale Chinese Art stages Fine Chinese Jade: Creatures and Beasts at Stoppenbach & Delestre’s St James’s gallery during Asian Art in London.
The exhibition primarily includes jades from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912) but also includes this pale celadon and russet carving of a rolling horse from the Tang dynasty or later.
Carved from a natural pebble, it shows the horse, a symbol of power and strength in Chinese art, with a ribbon tied through its tail indicating that the animal is probably domesticated or trained.
Works in the show are priced from £4000-50,000.
Adam’s – November 5
In the Qing court clothing became so distinct that a wearer's position was immediately clear.
The blue-black fabric of this embroidered silk kesi indicated the wearer was a court official with the roundels filled with cranes showing he was of the first civil rank.
It is on offer in the Asian art sale at Adam’s in Dublin on November 5 from ‘an Irish private collection and then by descent’. Estimate €2000-4000.