Chinese ceramics take center stage at the afternoon session of Gianguan Auctions' Asia Week sale on Sunday, March 18.
Highlighting the proceedings is a seldom-seen Yuan Dynasty octagonal blue and white Meipng portraying six legendary Chinese figures. According to Kwong Lum, proprietor of Gianguan Auctions, the Meiping represents the exceptional artistic attainmnet of Yuan Dynasty porcelain making. Its workmanship is comparable to that of an octagonal blue-and-white Meiping with a dragon-amid-billow design unearthed in Hebei Province in 1964 and collected by China's Hebei Provincial Museum. (Referenced in the "Encyclopedia of Historic Relics, Volume of Porcelain," Plate 544/Page 330, complied by China's National Bureau of Cultural Relics Administration.) The figures on Lot 295 are portrayed riding a horse, carrying a sword, carrying a lute or a flower basket amid bamboo and rocks. The vase stands almost 14 inches tall and has a presale estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.
Other highlights include Lot 269, a dodecahedral Junyao twelve-petal planter with an extraordinary reddish-purple glaze in a cascading water effect. Both the design and the glaze represent the highest achievement of Junyao craftsmanship in the Southern Song Dynasty. Its catalog estimate is $250,000 to $300,000.
Since only one buyer can own the planter, under bidders will take advantage of values among the mid-range Chinese porcelains. Among these is Lot 298, a rare Wanli period, Ming Dynasty Zhadou vessel of copper red undulating waves and blue and white mythical beast. $20,000 to $30,000 is the estimate.
Leading the antique bronze offerings is a Phoenix-head ewer with gold inlaid phoenix motifs. Well-cast as a phoenix standing facing forward with open beak as spout holding and a dragon tail handle, the bulbous ewer is then gold inlaid with a phoenix in flight encircled with clouds, birds and mythical beasts. On the side, are inscriptions and dragon motifs. It is lot 308, estimated at $30,000 to $35,000.
A bronze recumbent buffalo inlaid with silvery phoenix motifs accented with incised Leiwen, is another fine example of the early art. Lot 305 is also estimated at $30,000 to $35,000.
Leading the carved jade offerings is a rare ritual food vessel, Lot 153, with well matched cover and body. The rounded exterior of the Ding is carved in shallow relief with bands of confronted phoenixes and geometric taotie masks. It is raised on three stocky curling legs with dragon masks. The jade tripod Ding is expected to command $60,000 to $80,000.
Carved jades are well represented throughout at various levels. For example, thre is a white jadeite Qilin (Lot 125) resting on its haunches, $4,000 to $5,00. Lot 127 is a finely reticulated Hetian white jade finger-citron vase, with a monkey clambering out of a rock, $2,000 to $2,500.
Among the Chinese niche specialties is a collection of rhinoceros horn carvings, including an exquisite pair of cylindrical perfumers featuring openwork carvings of writing dragons chasing pearls. Subsequent rhino horn items include naturalistically carved wind cups translucent in color, with natural veining.
Meanwhile, a collection of Chinese seals will excite collectors of intricately detailed miniatures. Included are a Tianhuang columnar seal with figural landscape carving, a pair of columnar icy-glazed ShouShan stone seals and a Jixue seal (Dahongpoo) carved with poem by Du Mu, Tang poet, Southern Spring.
The Gianguan Auctions sale will be conducted in two sessions. Eighty-six Chinese scroll paintings will be offered in the morning. The Chinese Ceramics and decorative arts go off at 2:00 p.m. Previews run from Saturday, March 10 through Saturday, March 17, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Gianguan Auctions, formerly Hong Kong Auctions NY, is located at 295 Madison Avenue, New York City. Catalogs and condition reports are available by calling 212-226-2660.