Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Christie’s Japanese and Korean Art Auction

Concluding Asian Art Week at Christie’s, the September 17 auction of Japanese and Korean Art will present over 150 lots offering exemplary pieces in the fields of paintings, ceramics, sculpture and works of art. The Japanese section of the sale will feature a collection of utensils for tea ceremony, Buddhist art, paintings of beauty and erotic prints, and the Korean section will offer an exquisite group of ceramics and a painting by Park Sookeun, the most sought after Korean modern master.

Park Sookeun
Park Sookeun (1916-1964), is represented with Three Women, 1961, (estimate: $350,000-400,000). Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2009

Japanese Art
This September, Japanese Art will present a collection of 28 highly prized utensils for tea practice, which includes tea bowls, tea caddies, dishes and tray, some offered in their original boxes. Highlights include an O- Meibutsu stoneware tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa (Myriad of Flowers), China, Southern Song/Yuan Dynasty (13-14th century) (estimate: $100,000-150,000). Chigusa is a historically important jar because of the great provenance starting from the 16th century with an accompanying letter from Sen no Rikyu, the 16th century tea master. Another prized utensil offered is a highly polished bamboo tea scoop (Chashaku) named Ima no kokoro (Person of the day) made by Sen no Rikyu, during the Momoyama period 16th century (1552-1591) (estimate: $30,000-40,000).

The sale will also include a bronze figure of Mahavairocana (Dainichi Nyorai), Nanbokucho Period, dated 1334 (estimate: $120,000-180,000), once owned by Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko (1887-1990). The sculpture is dated and inscribed on the lower back stating that it was commissioned in 1334 as the principal Buddha in commemoration of the construction of Shojuin Sogenji Temple at the foot of Yamamoto Castle. Other noteworthy sculptures include a porcelain figure of a dandy (Wakashu), Arita ware, Kakiemon style, Edo Period, 1670-90 (estimate: $120,000-150,000), and the cover lot of the sale- a wood figure of the Divine General Anila (Anira Taisho), Muromachi period, 14-15th century (estimate: $40,000-50,000). The highly detailed figure, dressed in Chinese armor and examining the shaft of an arrow, is one of the twelve divine generals serving Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of healing.

The pictorial section of the sale is lead by one of the most famous names in the world of Japanese prints and paintings, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). Tsui no hinagata (Patterns of loving couple) (estimate: $100,000-150,000) is a complete set of twelve erotic scenes with a supplementary bird-and-flower print (kacho-e). In the 1810s, erotica was extremely popular and Hokusai’s was so successful that at least two versions were printed from different blocks. Another important Japanese painting offered is a twopanel screen, by an anonymous artist (mid 17th century), Delivering a lover letter (Fuzukai) (estimate: $100,000-150,000). This highly exhibited and published screen depicts a stylish courtesan and her young assistant delivering a neatly folded and knotted love letter.

Korean Art
The Korean sale encompasses a strong section of ceramics including vases, bowls, water droppers and bottles. One of the outstanding pieces in the group is the celadon stoneware Maebyong incised with lotus blossoms, Goryeo Dynasty (12-13th century) (estimate: $200,000-300,000). The emerald colored Maebyong is a superb example of an elegant s-shaped profile, with carved lotus arabesques attached to curving stems.

A white porcelain bowl, Joseon Dynasty (mid 15th century) with incised mark on base Chon (Heaven), (estimate: $120,000-180,000) is another elegant example of Korean artistic mastery. The bowl is well balanced from rim to foot creating a visually stunning display. Other refined ceramics include a white porcelain quadrangular bottle, Joseon Dynasty (19th century) (estimate: $120,000-140,000); a blue and white porcelain bottle, Joseon Dynasty (19th century) (estimate: $50,000-60,000); and a blue and white, copper-red and iron decorated peach-form water dropper, Joseon Dynasty (19th century) (estimate: $40,000-50,000).

Other highlights include a painting in the style of An Kyon, represented with a pair of hanging scrolls, Landscape, by an unknown artist of the Joseon Dynasty, (estimate: $150,000-200,000) and a gilt bronze Buddha triad with single mandorla, Three Kingdoms Period (6-7th century) (estimate: $180,000-200,000).

The most sought-after modern Korean painter, Park Sookeun (1916-1964), is represented with Three Women, 1961, (estimate: $350,000-400,000) a finely executed painting and in all aspects a splendid example of the work the artist is known and admired for: a few lines or shapes, some geometric, some figurative. The small picture depicts a scene of three seated women wearing traditional Korean clothing (hanbok) rendering the artist’s unassuming and simplistic trademark.

Among the other modern works feature Kim Tchah-sup’s (b.1940) PI’s Window, 2009 (estimate: $80,000-100,000), a painting executed in acrylic and Chinese ink on canvas in which the artist depicts a field of stones in the Pristine Rangeley Lakes region near Roxbury, Maine. In his recent work Tchah-sup has been exploring the relationship between the natural world and the transcendental number (pi). The sale also offers a fine selection by established contemporary artists including Kang Ik-Joong (b. 1960), Moon Jars and Landscapes, 2008 (estimate: $20,000-25,000), and Kim Tschangyeul (b. 1929), ENS 809, 1980 (estimate: $25,000-30,000).