MALVERN, Pa. – Just over 300 hand-selected Chinese antiques are up for bid in Converse Auctions’ internet-only Important Spring Chinese Auction, already online at the Converse website (www.ConverseAuctions.com), as well as two additional online bidding platforms: LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. Live bidding begins on Friday, May 4th, at 10 am Eastern.
“We’ve spent the last several months gathering the best of the best Chinese antiques for this important online auction,” said Todd Converse of Converse Auctions, based in Malvern. “The items include Ming and Qing dynasty porcelain, Republic Period porcelain, monumental Qing dynasty cloisonné, Hetian jade carvings, a 15th century Tibetan gold gilt Buddha and thangkas.”
The list continues with Chinese Export silver and porcelain, Chinese watercolor paintings, zitan and huanghuali furniture and more. Remarkably, despite the lengthy and impressive list of many categories just recited, the sale’s top lot may end up being a set of eight 1980 Chinese Golden Monkey stamps. The set, being sold as a single lot, has a pre-sale estimate of $12,000-$18,000.
Two other challengers carry $10,000-$20,000 estimates. One is a 15th century bronze, gold and silver Buddha on a three-tiered geometric throne, overall 23 ½ inches tall, from a Tibetan monetary in Lhasa, purchased at a Hong Kong art market in 1986. The other is a monumental pair of phoenix and dragon cloisonné vases, 21 inches tall, having necks with archaic borders, bats on wide panels and a circular reserve on the bottom with flowers and four-character Qianlong mark.
Chinese zitan wood is very dense and makes for wonderfully durable and gorgeous furniture. An impressive 20th century elaborately carved and pierced dragon throne, fit for a king and topped by a large dragon head with his tongue curling down into a fire pearl, 50 ½ inches in height, is expected to command $5,000-$8,000; while a pair of Qing zitan and semiprecious stone cabinets, traditionally tapered in shape and with lovely mirrored village scenes, should rise to $4,000-$6,000.
For zitan fans on a budget, a long carved zitan altar table, 79 inches in length, with the apron carved in facing dragons below the table top and ruyi flowers down the curving legs, carries an estimate of $1,000-$2,000. Also, a pair of mirrored carved huanghuali etageres with various open shelving bordered by carved and pierced meander and flower and tendril patterns, should reach $2,000-$4,000.
Chinese vases are enormously popular because they’re beautiful, colorful and make spectacular decorative accents. The auction has a marvelous selection. A few exceptional lots include:
- A 19th century blue and white trumpet-shaped palace vase with two facing dragons, 24 ¾ inches tall each, painted with an abundant blooming peony garden (est. $3,000-$5,000).
- A Ming dynasty bottle vase with the Zhengde (1506-1521) mark on the front and having a delicate yellow background with decoration in shades of green (est. $2,000-$4,000).
- A Qianlong “100 Children” famille rose vase, the body showing celebrating children holding banners and lanterns parading outdoors, 14 inches tall (est. $1,000-$1,500).
- A 20th century Republic Period monkey and horse vase depicting two horses standing by a stream and a monkey in a nearby tree, with calligraphy on the back (est. $1,000-$1,500).
- A blue and yellow vase, 7 inches tall, with a bright yellow glazed background, with blue flowers and tendril on the neck and body, and lion ring handles (est. $800-$1,200).
A Qing Qianlong cloisonné bird cage with perch, feeders and bird (enameled) inside, with two removable feeding bowls (as is the bird), having a turquoise background with flower and tendril designs on the door and marked on the bottom within by a ruyi border, should make $3,000-$5,000. Also, a pair of fine Yongzheng Chinese porcelain bird bowls, with a female shown nesting while the male bird perches nearby, surrounded by flowers and butterflies, is estimated at $800-$1,200.
Thangkas (Tibetan Buddhist religious paintings on cotton, silk applique, usually depicting a deity, scene or mandala), are desired by collectors. This sale’s got several, including a 40 inch by 25 ½ inch fine silk example having blue Yamantaka with flaming hair, a dragon at the top and skulls and flaming clouds throughout (est. $1,000-$1,500); and a framed bronze thangka, 17 ½ inches by 23 ½ inches, showing a man and woman wearing masks, standing on a beast (est. $500-$800).
A scroll and a screen have identical estimates of $2,000-$4,000. The long hand scroll of delicately painted antlers and calligraphy with jade clip is a staggering 254 inches wide by 10 inches tall (painted area 85 inches by 10 inches), The large fan-shaped stone table screen (22 ¾ inches by 17 inches by 8 ½ inches) has applied stone decoration illustrating a village, river and mountain scene with a bridge, trees, houses, men and clouds. The reverse depicts two game players seated in a garden.
Good things come in small Chinese boxes. A pair of carved and pierced dzi beads with a phoenix on each, stored in a custom leather and suede box measuring just 2 ½ inches by 3 ¼ inches, has an estimate of $300-$500. Also, a Qing Imperial green jade dragon seal in a wooden box, this one a bit larger at 10 inches by 7 inches, featuring a fierce carved dragon top and a carved artist’s mark bottom, encased in a box decorated with an archaic dragon with a flaming pearl, should hit $1,000-$1,500.
An octagonal brush pot (pot for holding Chinese writing brushes), with multi-colored dragons swirling on top of a yellow background amongst cobalt clouds with blue flames, sitting on four feet and marked on the bottom, is estimated at $1,000-$1,500. Also, an antique moon flask, 29 inches tall, picturing reverse dragon swirls in clouds in the middle, spotted dog handles, a tall foot with flower and tendril design and flowers and phoenixes on the sides, should hit $800-$1,200.
A pair of rare antique, carved, polychrome portraits on sections of bone, depicting a Chinese emperor and empress, each with marks on their sleeves, flowers painted in red and cloud patterns on their robes, 11 inches tall, should finish at $800-$1,200; while an eight-piece Rose Medallion set (seven plates and a platter) with pierced borders, in traditional bright colors with alternating reserves of interior scenes and birds and flowers has an estimate of $500-$800.
Previews will be held in the Converse Auctions gallery, located at 57 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern, in eastern Pennsylvania, not far from Philadelphia, from Tuesday thru Thursday, May 1st-3rd, from 10-4 Eastern time. In addition to live and internet bidding, phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. Bidders can enjoy the lowest buyer’s premium when they download the Converse Auctions app to their smart phones, available at the Apple Store and at Google Play.
Converse Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may call them directly, at (610) 722-9004; or, you can send an e-mail to info@ConverseAuctions.com. Curious about an item’s value? Bring your items (or photos) to Free Appraisal Tuesdays, every Tuesday from 10 am to 4 pm at the Malvern gallery.
For more information about Converse Auctions and the internet-only Important Spring Chinese Auction on Friday, May 4th, please visit www.ConverseAuctions.com.
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Converse & Company
758 Mancill Road
P: (610) 722-9004