Bonhams Hong Kong Spring Auction

. May 28, 2008

Bonhams’ spring auctions of Fine Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Paintings, Fine Western and Jadeite Jewellery, and Fine Modern Wristwatches in Hong Kong will be held on 29 and 30 May at the Island Ballroom, Island Shangri-la Hong Kong.

Public Preview: 27 May 3pm to 6pm
28 and 29 May from 10am to 7pm
30 May from 10am to 5pm

Auctions: Fine Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Paintings at 3:00 pm on 29 May
Fine Western and Jadeite Jewellery at 2:00 pm on 30 May
Fine Modern Wristwatches at 5:00 pm on 30 May

Commenting on the Hong Kong 2008 Spring Auctions, Colin Sheaf, Chairman of Bonhams Asia, said: “I’m looking forward very confidently to our third series of fine auctions in Hong Kong. The international art market seems to be remaining remarkably strong, at a time of financial uncertainty in other areas. Nowhere in the world seems to be more optimistic and buoyant than in Hong Kong. It’s always exciting to be selling top quality Chinese art, jewellery and watches to the very knowledgeable collectors and dealers who come to the auctions. Many of them are well-established local friends, but it’s great to welcome an increasing number of new overseas buyers attracted by the wealth of material for sale. Following our two series of important auctions here last year, I anticipate more very good results, as we build on the success of Bonhams’ exceptional Fine and Rare Wines auction held here last month. This Spring, the quality of the best objects we’re selling in Hong Kong is as outstanding as anything we’re offering in London or New York.”

Fine Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Paintings Auction

The works of art auction begins with a select group of Ming and Qing dynasty ceramics, including blue and whites, wucai, famille rose, blanc-de-chine and other enamelled wares. Lot 569 is a rare Jiaqing period blue and white double-gourd vase depicting both cranes and dragons (Estimate: HK$310,000 – $460,000). Double gourds held particular significance during the reign of the Jiaqing emperor, who is best remembered for his quest for immortality. This vase is special because it depicts both cranes and dragons. Lot 572 is an important pair of famille rose peach dishes decorated with auspicious symbols relating to longevity dated to the Yongzheng period. The dishes are decorated with nine peaches, eight cranes and lingzhi fungus and must have been commissioned for a birthday celebration (Estimate: HK$3 million to $5 million). Lot 578 is a rare enamelled figure of a kneeling bodhisattva. This porcelain figure is modelled after a bronze Ming prototype (Estimate: HK$900,000 – $1.2 million).

The ceramics are followed by an exquisite group of jade carvings that spans the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Notable among them is a very fine white jade vase and cover, Lot 591, dating to the late Qianlong/Jiaqing period (Estimate: HK$600,000 – $900,000); Lot 588, an 18th century white jade square baluster vase and cover decorated with the figure of Song poet Lin Bu (Estimate: HK$1.2 million to $1.5 million); Lot 592, an 18th century linzhi-form celadon jade brush washer (Estimate: HK$1.2 million to $1.5 million), and Lot 593, a Qianlong/Jiaqing period fine white jade ruyi decorated with bat and dragons (Estimate: HK$1 million to $1.5 million).

The offerings of snuff bottles include Lot 603, an enamelled glass snuff bottle, finely painted with birds and flowering plants (Estimate HK$30,000 – $50,000). The delicate enamelling may be the work of Ye Bengqi whose work was so impressive that for decades, his copies of Qianlong pieces had experts convinced that they were the real thing.

In terms of bronze sculptures, a highlight is Lot 605, which is an unusual figure of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara in male form dated to the Yuan/early Ming period (Estimate: HK$200,000 – $250,000).

The sale concludes with cloisonné enamel works, lacquer wares, bamboo and wood carvings, and scholars objects. Notable is Lot 619, a cinnabar lacquer flower-shaped box and cover (Estimate: HK$160,000 – $180,000); Lot 620, a cinnabar lacquer nine-dragon box and cover (Estimate: HK$250,000 – $300,000); Lot 629 a carved bamboo zun vessel (Estimate: HK$400,000 – $600,000); and Lot 630 a carved bamboo gui vessel (Estimate: HK$60,000 – $80,000); all from the Qianlong period.

The Chinese paintings lots include a combination of fine Chinese modern ink paintings, Chinese contemporary art and Southeast Asian paintings. A notable piece is Lot 535, an oil painting by Chu The-Chun (Zhu Dequn, b.1920), Lumiere de la nuit (Estimate: HK$ 2 million -$3 million). An important early work dated in 1976, this painting is an excellent example of Chu’s skillful control of colour combination.

Lot 523, Trois Personages devant Cathedrale painted in 1952 by Zao Wou-Ki’s (b.1921), is a masterpiece with a relatively smaller size as other of his early works (Estimate: HK$500,000 – $700,000). Few Zao Wouki works from the early 50s are available today. Depicting three persons in front of the grand cathedral, this painting features abstract brushwork, and palettes of soft, elegant colour with subtle gradations in shading that reveal the influence of important French painters of Zao’s acquaintance.

Also on offer are some ink paintings by Qi Baishi (1863-1957). Lot 510 Red Plum Blossoms and Shrimps (Estimate: HK$400,000 -600,000) are two of the artist’s most favourite painting subjects. Both were painted in the artist’s 86th year. The plum blossoms are painted in vividly red colour and powerful strokes, and the shrimps are outlined with meticulous details and further applied with water and ink. The main theme of each painting, one in red and another in black, composes a beautiful contrast. Qi Baishi was famous for his lively depiction of insects. Born in the country village, he started painting animals and insects in his daily life from an early age. Lot 503 Insects (Estimate: HK$100,000 -$150,000), in a set of nine leaves featuring meticulous lines and masterful ink, reflects Qi’s thorough observation and amazing skill on painting insects.

Fine Western and Jadeite Jewellery Auction

Riding on last November’s impressive sales results, the Fine Western and Jadeite Jewellery Auction will not only offer a wide range of important jewellery and jadeite pieces, but also meet the market’s rising demand for gem-quality coloured stones. There are over 160 lots on offer, with a total estimated value of HK$40 million. As the true connoisseur, who continuously seeks out one-of-a-kind gem pieces and fine crystal specimens would say, “this is certainly something unusual”. To name a few lots: Lot 864, a 10.71 cts light pink diamond ring with VVS1 clarity (Estimate: HK$5 million – $6 million), Lot 778, a Tiffany & Co. approximately 14 cts Burmese spinel and diamond ring (Estimate: HK$390,000 – $490,000), Lot 854, a 35.93cts Sri Lanka cat’s eye chrysoberyl (rare combination of size, sharp cat’s eye effect, and rare colour variety – Estimate: HK$2.2 million – $3.2 million) and Lot 788, a 3.92 cts Burmese unheated ruby ring (Estimate: HK$1.8 million – $2.2 million).

Fine Modern Wristwatches Auction

After the success of the November 2007 sales with a hammer rate of over 70%, the Bonhams Fine Modern Wristwatches auction continues the tradition of bringing extremely collectible and horologically significant pieces to collectors. The auction offers over 100 lots of the most sought-after and sizzling hot timepieces. Not only will collectors be able to find the most complicated tourbillon, minute repeaters, they will also find some very classic watches. A star lot is Lot 1027, an IWC fine and rare platinum PT 950 Skeletal Minute Repeater limited edition wristwatch (Estimate: HK$710,000 – 750,000). Other highlights include Lot 960, a Patek Philippe very fine and rare white gold chronograph wristwatch (Estimate: HK$340,000 – $370,000), Lot 986, a Breguet fine 18ct white gold automatic ladies wristwatch with moon phase and power reserve (Estimate: 130,000 – $150,000). Together with a wide selection of other horological masterpieces from Hublot, Patek Philippe and Rolex among others, the auction will also feature Lot 1022, an exquisite art deco clock from Vacheron Constantin of a solid provenance in remarkable condition with mother of pearl, onyx and semi-precious stone detail, as well as 8 days power reserve (Estimate: HK$760,000 – $800,000).

Charity Auction and Dinner to Benefit Operation Smile’s Hangzhou Charity Hospital

In keeping with the tradition of supporting a charitable cause at each series of auctions, Bonhams will host a Charity Dinner and Auction to benefit Operation Smile’s Hangzhou Charity Hospital on 27 May at the Island Ballroom, Island Shangri-La Hong Kong. The highlight of the evening will be a charity auction of three lots that have been generously donated to the auction. They include “An Evening at Harkaway”, an oil on canvas painted by Sir David Akers-Jones (Estimate: HK$28,000 – $60,000), Chaumet’s Limited Edition Dandy Jumping Hour men’s watch (Estimate: HK$128,000 – $170,000), and an unique Shanghai brand rose gold tourbillon ladies’ watch commissioned specially for the auction (Estimate: HK$200,000 – $250,000). Entire proceeds of the charity auction and the table sales will go to Operation Smile’s Hangzhou Charity Hospital to provide surgery and after care services without charge to poor children born with cleft lips and palates.

Auction info www.bonhams.com

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