The Antiques Trade Gazette Award for Outstanding East Asian Work of Art from an Auction House and the Apollo Award for Outstanding East Asian Work of Art from a Dealer each have three finalists. Winners will be announced on October 28.
An imperial Beijing enamel teapot
This teapot, pictured top, shows a Qianlong blue enamel four-character mark of the period (1736-95) and is one of three known examples of this form and type.
The other two are in museum collections: the National Palace Museum, Taipei, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. The two museum pieces are both identically decorated and have a very similar dragon handle and spout, but all three of these known pieces slightly differ in the form of the finial on the cover.
Archive records show the three were made in the Beijing Imperial Enamel Workshop early in the Qianlong reign as a special commission for the use of the Qianlong Emperor.
Estimated at £500,000-800,000 at Bonhams on November 2, this example comes from the Parry collection of Chinese art and was last seen in public when EA Parry loaned six pieces to the International Exhibition of Chinese Art held at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, London, in 1935-36.
A mid-Qing Chinese jade moonflask
At 5in (12.2cm) high, this item is small but beautifully formed. The compressed circular body rises from a flared rectangular foot, flanked by a pair of scroll handles. It is well carved in low relief on each of the broad sides with a blossoming tree above rocks.
The piece was acquired by the vendor’s late great grandfather who was in China in c.1900 and thence by descent.
At the Sworders sale on November 5 it is estimated at £10,000-15,000.
A large Chinese porcelain blue and white moonflask
Impressively decorated and 19in (48cm) high, this porcelain moonflask creates even more of an impression when viewed from the side (below). It has clearly sagged in the kiln during the firing process.
While any defect in imperial porcelain led to the item being destroyed, here the commercial needs of the kiln meant the (non-imperial) piece was spared.
It has provenance to the collection of Maurice Collis (1889-1973), who was stationed in Burma in the 1920s and later became an active member of the Oriental Ceramic Society and a writer on Chinese and Far Eastern topics.
The estimate is £15,000-25,000 at Roseberys on November 9-10.
A lacquer head of a bodhisattva, Tang dynasty, 8th century
Measuring 17in (43.5cm) in height, the head of this bodhisattva is particularly significant as a rare survival of the hollowcore dry lacquer sculptural technique used in China for a short period, primarily between the sixth and eighth centuries.
Recent research by Eskenazi has identified this to be one of three similar heads likely made as a group for a patron of high status and wealth. The three heads are illustrated in a little-known deluxe volume published in Japan in 1930 and held in the gallery’s research library.
They had all been handled by Yamanaka and Co, a renowned Asian art dealership established in the late 19th century; the other two examples have since entered private collections.
A fine saddle, probably Tibetan, 1475-1600
This saddle features elaborately decorated fretted gilt iron plates, pierced and chiselled with sinuous, scaly, four-clawed dragons writhing through a tracery of scrolling foliage. Leaves, flowers and a denser tracery of scrolling foliage also feature on the plates of the item.
The saddle comprises a wooden frame to which the bow and cantle are attached by leather thongs; parts of the outside of the frame are covered in sinew, while the inside was painted blood-red.
The saddles of the eastern steppe and the Tibetan plateau are renowned for their exquisite metal fittings and this saddle is one of a distinctive group with a high, narrow pommel and a low, reclining cantle. Comparable examples are a saddle and a group of saddle plates in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and another in the Royal Armouries, Leeds.
This example, available at Peter Finer, measures 12 x 22in (30 x 56cm), dates from between 1475 and 1600 and comes from a private UK collection.
JOOST VAN DEN BERGH
A geometric work of art in bamboo, 2019
The appeal of this work, Bamboo object by Tomonori Nakamura (b.1965), lies in its geometric forms and the many ways in which it can be rotated to be placed on a surface without falling over. When a light is shone onto it the object, created in 2019 and measuring 18 x 16½ x 9in (46 x 42 x 23cm), casts intriguing shadows.
The artist, from Hokkaido, who took up bamboo making after a career in IT engineering, is interested in mathematical shapes, with a number of his works using hexagons. He has shown his work at regional art exhibitions and has won a number of awards in Japan. This item is available at Joost van den Bergh.