With a slate of more than 300 items going off in two sessions on June 30th, Gianguan Auction’s Summer Sale marks the first time Internet bidders will be able to place bids direct through the Gianguan Auctions website.
Two unusual Fu and Shou character-from sancai ceramic ewers of the Qing Dynasty typify the cultural rarities that highlight the Fine Chinese Paintings and Works of Art Auction. Tagged Lots 224 and 225, the unusual wine pots are of flattened form embellished with floral patterns and geometrics surrounding a center medallion depicting sages. Modestly estimated, the ewers are expected to fetch between $1,500 to $2,000.
Complimenting and offsetting these is Lot 247, a fanciful form doucai floral, ritual ewer known as a Benbahu. The bulbous body rises from a spreading pedestal and is surmounted by a canopy-shaped mouth. Its curved spout is distinguished by an iron red dragon head. The overall floral pattern of lotus blossoms and vines is punctuated by gilt boss borders. Of the Qing Dynasty and bearing the Qianlong six-character mark, this ewer is being offered at between $150,000 and $200,000.
Also positioned for the high-end of the market is a rare Imperial Famille-Rose vase with brocade ground similar to two Qing Court vases currently on view in Beijing Palace’s Museum. Pictures on the catalog page opposite Lot 235 illustrate the similarities. The Imperial Famille-Rose vase of globular form with a tall waisted neck is decorated with leafy floral blooms and foliate scrolls set between concentric gilt bands. It bears the reign mark of red on gold of the Qing Dynasty and the Qianlong Six Character Doubles Squares Mark of the period. Standing 8 ¾” tall, the estimate on the vase may be obtained by calling the gallery.
Highlighting the collection of carved jades is Lot 254, a remarkable Han Dynasty white jade ritual dagger with high-relief carvings of entwined Qilins on one side and archaistic motifs on the back. The 13" handle bears the carving of a figure. It is estimated at $20,000 - $30,000.
A rare carved Han Dynasty lapis lazuli Bixie is positioned at Lot 269. The Bixie, indicative of the Han fascination with the supernatural, is portrayed in a crouching position as if ready to spring. It has two horns, curled wings and bifurcated tail. The carved mythical “averter of evil” fairly bursts with energy. It is set to go off at between $6,000 - $8,000.
A lapis lazuli mountain bolder carved with scholars amidst pine trees and a pavilion is another excellent value at $3,000 -$5,000.
A remarkable set of rectangular white jade seals surmounted by a carved elephant from the Emperor Kangxi makes its debut at Lot 143. Comprised of six seals each one is carved in positive text bearing political thoughts and moral concepts. They are complete in a fitted box and will likely fetch between $80,000 - $100,000.
Among the many other carvings is a translucent white jade tripod censer raised on three mask-head supports with twin upright handles. Of the Qing Dynasty, it is lot 277, bearing a $20,000 - $30,000 estimate.
Cinnabar items scattered throughout the auction provide ample opportunity to acquire. For instance, Lot 170 is a well-carved cinnabar lacquer dish with two flaming dragons on cresting waves in chase of a pearl. It is an excellent acquisition at $1,500 to $2,000. Lot 162 is a large square cinnabar vase with a tall neck and carved with panels of scrolling flowers and continuous landscape finished with graphic borders and splayed feet incised with a key fret border. Its estimated value is $3,000 - $4,000. At the top end of the cinnabar offerings is Lot 223, a dish carved with a landscape of the Jade Belt Bridge in the Palace that is set among willow trees. It is bordered with ruyi heads. Of the Qing Dynasty Period and with the Jiaping Six Charter mark incised, the dish is estimated at $10,000 - $15,000.
Small personal and decorative items abound. Among them, a rare and fine lacquer painted collar-shaped wood box with dragons and bats. It is Lot 222, set to go off at $6,000 - $8,000. A collection of teapots are Lots 312 – 317. The unique items range from 312, a teapot carved in relief of the God of Wealth Delivering an Ingot, and Lot 316, a pumpkin shaped pot stenciled with figures and floral Shou characters. They range in value from $500 to $800.
The paintings, for which Gianguan Auctions is becoming known, lead the sale in a morning session that begins at 11:00 a.m. With works by the finest painters of the centuries, paintings on the block reflect the many Chinas. They range from antique Imperial ink on paper or silk scrolls to contemporary offerings.
Among the modern scrolls is Huang Zhou’s Uyghur Maiden, 1984. Burdened with a basket on her head and in concert with a dog, the painting portrays the nomadic lifestyle of people who create and maintain living shrines like those recently featured in a photography exhibition at the Rubin Museum. The ink-on-paper is of muted palette. It is Lot 30, estimated at $40,000 to $60,000.
Qi Baishi’s modernistic Squirrels and Grapes, rendered in nearly abstract graphics combined with representational figures, and colored in browns, blues and purples, is but one example of the master’s oeuvre. It is Lot 35, expected to bring between $80,000 – $100,000.
Wu Guanzhong’s Pine in the Wind, a colorful abstraction of line and form, is Lot 40. Its estimate is $100,000 - $150,000.
The antique scrolls, those dominated by landscapes, are museum quality. For instance Dong Qichang’s Snow Mountains, dated 1615 is a masterpiece of tonality. With a small house protected by a gate and set in a mountain crevice, the artist’s interpretation of the massive mountain is clear. Lot 24, Dong Qichan’s pen on paper has one artist seal, four emperors’ seals and two collectors’ seals. It is valued at $250, 000 - $300,000.
Another masterpiece is Lot 63. It depicts a stark mountainous landscape with a lonely scholar floating on a boat beneath the ridges. With innovative use of white space depicting distance and a poem reflecting the thoughts of its artist, the painting captures man’s place in nature. Its estimate is available on request.
For details on these and other paintings in Gianguan Auctions June 20th auction, please refer to the online catalog at www.gianguanauctions.com . For condition reports, please call the gallery at 212-226-2660. Gianguan Auctions is now celebrating its 11th Anniversary.
295 Madison Avenue
New York, New York
Mary Ann Lum