New York City summer specialty auctions often carry a broader variety of collections than at other times of year. Proof of this are the Qi Baishi paintings to be found among the antique and vintage Chinese collectibles in Hong Kong Auctions New York June 12 sale.
A Qi Baishi inkwash recently set an auction record of $65.4 million on May 23. It will be interesting to see if the record sparks a run on the Hong Kong Auctions paintings. Lot 30 is Qi Baishi's "Ducks in a Lotus Pond" that carries a catalog high estimate of $120,000. Lot 60 is Qi Baishi's "Crow at Dusk." It is expected to top $80,000.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Auctions New York cites a Ming Dynasty, Hongwu copper-red porcelain vase as the centerpiece of the sale. The baluster form with copper red lotus blooms is one of a handful of successful examples of 14th Century underglazed red porcelains remaining. The estimate is available on request.
Another museum-quality item is the Tang Dynasty bronze ewer with gold inlay that culminates in a Falcon head. The body of the vessel (Lot 275) is decorated with gold swirling clouds. Estimate is upwards of $250,000.
Among the painting highlights, Lot 31 is a dramatic Zhao Ji (1082 - 1135) silk scroll entitled "Autumn Chrysanthemum and Poem." The flower motif of subtle copper and orange hues is set against a background of cinnamon. Its estimate is also by request.
Chinese fine arts are enjoying a renewed popularity among Western collectors and designers. Whether the interest is inspired by Feng Shui or China's global presence, the result is the same. Chinese seals, carved jades, deities, cloisonné boxes and cinnabar items are showing up more and more on American mantles and bookshelves.
And why not, when it is possible to bid on a Neolithic Qiji culture jade spade with turquoise inlaid handle? Lot 209, estimated at a low of $15,000. It is unlike anything collectors are likely to see soon again.
Carved jades have long been associated with good luck and success. Desired for the beauty of the stone, colors that range from translucent green to lavender, gray and whites, and their tactile quality, carved jades make great gifts and lovely displays.
The collections of carved jades include pendants (Lot 100, 107, 108), jade bracelets (Lots 103, 106, 109), even a white jade belt made up of plaques and carved with the monkey and horse that symbolizes noble ascent (Lot 110). Estimates run from $300 for the small items to $5,000 for the belt.
Similarly, a collection of jade seals, including Lot 117, which is attributed to Qi Baishi, and Lots 119, 120, 122, 123, all Tianhuang figural landscape seals, are excellent values at $400 to $1200. Usually less than four inches tall, Chinese seals are quietly exquisite.
Stoneware teapots, many of them made of the famous Zisha clay that first used during the Song Dynasty, are also excellent in collections. Lot 260, for instance, is a blue glazed Zisha pot just two inches tall and ascribed to Yu Guoliang. Lot 259 is a more stylized Zisha pot. Its extended spout and toad atop its cover are ascribed to maker Da Bin. Lot 264, also Zisha clay, has panels of corn cobs and a mouse on is cover. It is signed Chen Mingyuan. The teapots range in value from $400 to $5000.
The sale also features Eastern deities. Of gilt bronze, examples include Lot 269, a Bodhisattva dressed in a long dhoti and swathed in fluttering scarves and Lot 273, a pair of bronze Ming Dynasty Buddhas, seated, draped and incised with auspicious emblems. The Hong Kong Auctions catalog values them at $1000 to $3000.
Hong Kong Auctions New York sale of paintings on Sunday, June 12 begins at 11:00 a.m. in the gallery. The session of antiquities and vintage ceramics, bronzes, jades and works of art begins at 2:00. The sale is live at 295 Madison Avenue and online at ArtFactLive.com.
An online catalog is available at www.hongkongauctiongallery.com. The printed catalog is available at the gallery or by calling 212-867-7288. Condition reports are also available at 212-867-7288.