Hong Kong Auctions International Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Auction

New York City’s Asia Week auctions kick off on Sunday, March 21, with a two-session sale at Hong Kong Auctions International. The morning session will see a collection of 63 Fine Chinese Paintings go under the hammer. Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, including a $6 million Qing Dynasty vase, will be offered in the afternoon.

The sale will be conducted at Hong Kong Auctions’ Madison Avenue gallery and, for the first time, simulcast on Artfact Live.
Hong Kong Auctions International is known for the consistently fine collections of traditional Chinese scroll paintings it brings to market. The March 21 auction is no exception.

The marquee item of the morning session is Lot 32, a Southern Song Dynasty painted scroll by Su Hanchen. Entitled “Children Playing with Water Reflection,” it captures the self-engrossed innocence of three children pondering their reflections in a bowl of still water. Nearby, another child observes the action from beside a large painted screen. All in all, this unusual slice-of-life says much about status and lifestyle.

Nearly forty-nine inches long, the Su Hanchen ink-and-color on paper bears both the artist’s sign and seal. It also carries two Palace collectors’ seals. The descending provenance can be read in seven additional collectors seals. Works by Su Hanchen are in the permanent collections of the National Palace Museum in Taipei, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Cleveland Art Museum. The estimate on the painting is by request.

Tang Yin, a Ming Dynasty scholar, poet, painter and calligrapher, is represented by Lot 46, “The Four Literati from Song Dynasty.” Three of the scholars are depicted out of doors, in suitable landscapes that encourage inspiration. The fourth is depicted in contemplation indoors, seated in an armchair set before a screen.

An artist who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the Four Masters of the Ming Dynasty, Tang Yin was known for including elements of the past in his works. “The Four Literati from Song Dynasty” is entitled and inscribed with four artist seals and twelve collector seals. Its catalog high estimate is $150,000.

Lot 49, “The Imperial Hawk,” is an interesting painting by Giuseppe Castiglione, the Italian Jesuit who became a Qing Dynasty court painter. The hanging scroll portrays the hawk perched atop a screen of carved wood with a painted panel. In the upper right portion, there is a poem. Complete with artist’s seals and eight palace collectors’ seals, the ink-and-color on paper will see interest at $120,000.

Among the Fine Chinese Ceramics, Lot 232, an exquisite Famille-Rose Reticulated Hexagonal Vase has few equals. The Qing Dynasty vase is a transitional masterwork, decorated both inside and out. The interior has an overall blue and white floral design that is viewed through open work panels decorated with peaches, peonies, lilies, pomegranates, finger citrus, berries and lingzhi (mushrooms of immortality). The chestnut hued body carries an overall lotus design done in the European manner.

Clearly a transitional piece of great artistic and technical merit, the Qianlong Famille-Rose vase bears the six-golden-character seal mark and is of the period (1736 – 1795.) A Museum Appraisal Certificate authenticates this. The vase’s provenance is clear as well. It is from the Shi Yang Tang Collection, New York.

In 2000 Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold a similar Qianlong hexagonal vase for HK$ 20,944,750. (About $2.7 million at today’s conversion rate.) Bidding on the vase begins at $6,000,000 USD, and is expected to go much higher.

Another outstanding porcelain highlight is Lot 228, a Xuande period blue and white bowl. Both charming and complex, the lobed bowl depicts 22 children at play in a garden. The lobes are painted with Lingzhi and plantain. Broad (9 inches in diameter) and deep (5.6 inches tall), it bears a six-character seal and carries a catalog high estimate of $800,000.

Lot 233 is a Qing Dynasty Doucai vase with 12 lobes of interlocking floral sprays. Divided by narrow ridged vertical bands, the 16 ¼ inch tall vase carries the six-character seal mark and is of the period. With Shi Yang Tang Collections provenance, the vase is well valued at $300,000 to $400,000.

A rare Tang Dynasty parcel gilt bronze Chariot Group, Lot 236, speaks for the breadth of interesting objects in the sale.

The robustly molded figures depict a charioteer under a domed umbrella driving a team of four horses. The steeds wear elaborate repoussé trappings and are joined by a bowed yoke. Merely 8 ½” tall and just 10 inches long, the highly desirable scene carries a catalog estimate of $100,000.

Under the hammer in the final hour of the sale is a fine collection of antique figural and vessel form bronzes inlaid with silver and gold, from a New York Family collection. Lots 282 – 286 include a large rhinoceros, a pair of dragon-head mythical beasts, massive dragons, a pair of phoenix censers and a ritual vessel with lose ring handles.
The March 21 sale will be conducted Hong Kong Auctions’ chairman, Mr. Kwong Lum (Lin Ji-guang). Mr. Lum is also Director of the International Society of Chinese Art Collectors.

For complete details on the 338 properties in Hong Kong Auctions International ‘s March 21 sale, please visit www.hongkongauctongallery.com. Full color bi-lingual catalogs can be purchased by calling 212 867-7288. Viewing begins March 12 and continues through March 20, 11:00 a.m. to 7 p.m.