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


New York: iGavel’s online Fall auction of important Asian, Ancient & Ethnographic works of art will go live on Tuesday, October 9 through Wednesday, October 24, it was announced by Lark Mason, founder and president of the Harlem-based auction house, at 227 East 120th Street. Over 500 lots drawn from a cross-section of periods and disciplines, from antiquities through the 20th century, will be offered.

Chinese Imperial Presentation Celadon Jade Sceptor

“On behalf of iGavel and its associate network, I am pleased to present a wide variety of freshly offered Asian items including bronzes, paintings, furniture, scholars’ articles, and ceramics,” says Lark Mason, who created the highly successful online auction platform in 2003.

Top sale highlights include:

*A Rare and Important 18th Century Chinese Imperial Zitan Armchair, one of a larger set created under Jesuit instructions and designed for the Qianlong emperor. With its Italian rococo elements, this chair was part of a set that was in the Yuan Ming Yuan, the Imperial Summer Retreat north of Beijing, designed by an Italian architect and incorporating both Western and Chinese elements. It is an exceedingly rare object, documenting a period of time in which China and the west were engaging in diplomatic contact and trade, a pattern that has continued to the present day. As a documented Imperial chair, it is not only a fantastic example of the finest imperial craftsmanship, but also one of very few objects that can be traced to a specific Imperial residence. Of particular interest are three documentary metal plaques attached to the chair attesting to the provenance and date it was removed from China in 1902. Chinese furniture and works of art rarely are accompanied with any history of ownership. China’s long tumultuous history, particularly during the 20th century, has separated most objects from any information about past owners. (Estimate: $150-250,000)

*A 17th Century Chinese Landscape-Decorated Rhinoceros Horn Cup
Landscape-decorated cups of this type reflect the interest during the 17th century of depictions of exotic landscapes, peopled with real and imaginary figures often with references to literature and mythology. This is a particularly good example of landscape-style decoration. (Estimate: $250-350,000)

*An Early 20th Century Large Chinese Celadon Jade Vase and Cover, Republic Period
Large scale jade carvings were popular during the reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736-95) and during the early years of the 20th century. After the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911, works of art were often created to bolster the legitimacy of the new government, a period of time referred to as the Republic period in Chinese history. This white to pale celadon jade vase incorporates designs that are based on eighteenth century prototypes and has a seal mark for the Qianlong period. The quality of the stone and workmanship indicate this example was made during the first quarter of the 20th century and is an excellent version of this type. (Estimate: $250-350,000)

*A Chinese Imperial Presentation Celadon Jade Ruyi Scepter, 18th / 19th century
This scepter was created in the Imperial workshops as a presentation from Yong Xuan (1746-1832), the eighth son of the Qianlong Emperor (1736-95), to the Jiaqing Emperor, presumably upon Yong Xuan’s elevation to the role of Prime Minister when Jiaqing became emperor in 1796. The inscription reads: “A full foot of fine material from a far away land to pay tribute to one’s emperor; whose strength, loyalty, and gentleness emanates light; may all government affairs go according to one’s wish; may all citizens work together for fruitful and prosperous years, respectfully, minister Yong Xuan.” Imperially commissioned jade objects are extremely unusual and this example, presented at a time of uncertainty over the transition of power from the government of Qianlong, whose long illustrious and successful reign had just ended, to that of his heir, provides an insight into the personal nature of the relationships between these individuals. (Estimate: $50-80,000)

*A Chinese Bronze Ritual Vessel, Zun, Western Zhou Period, c.1000 BCE
Both this lot and a similar version in the sale date from the Western Zhou Period c.1000 BCE and are ritual food vessels created during the high point of Chinese bronze manufacture. Both examples were originally on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston during the earlier part of the 20th century and depict bold mask and stylized bird patterns. (Estimate: $50-80,000)

*A 19th Century Chinese Zitan, Hardstone, and Gilt Bronze Miniature Mountain
Depicting the Buddhist Paradise. Imperial workshops located in Beijing and Canton (Guangzhou) created spectacular works of art of all types, but few as elaborate as this example. The model is composed of zitan, a wood largely restricted for Imperial use and characterized by a dense, tight grain and dark purplish-black color. The figures and pavilions are of gilt bronze with details in silver, gilt-silver, kingfisher feather, simulated malachite, coral, ivory, and enamels. It is likely this model was created as a presentation gift possibly from the Imperial household to a high official or dignitary upon an auspicious occasion. The workmanship and design indicate that this is most likely from the Guanxu reign (1875-1908), most likely in the early years of his reign. The model is complete with the original black lacquer bronze-mounted carrying case. (Estimate: $30-50,000)

*A Japanese Silver and Gold Tortoise, Meiji Period
This silver tortoise is a depiction of a minogame, an ancient tortoise that is a haven for immortals and symbolic for longevity, felicity, and good luck. They are generally depicted with hexagonal patterned shells and with seaweed attached to the shell, flowing behind in long strands. This example is signed, “Teishitsu Gigei-in Shomin zo,” an important Meiji court artist active during the latter part of the 19th century.
(Estimate: $15-25,000)


When Lark Mason founded iGavel Inc., the online international network of independently owned regional auction salesrooms, specializing in the sale of fine and decorative arts, in 2003, his stellar reputation as a leading expert, appraiser, and television personality on the PBS series The Antiques Roadshow, was already well-established within the art world.

Mason served as a general appraiser and Assistant Vice President of fine and decorative arts and household furnishings from 1979 until 1985. As a Senior Vice President he was a specialist in Chinese art with Sotheby’s Chinese Works of Art Department from 1985–2000, and from 2000–2003 he was a Director of Online Auctions for He served as a consulting curator at the Trammel and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, Texas from 2003-2009. He is also a Fine Arts Advisor with Timothy Sammons, Inc.
As a general appraiser with Sotheby’s Appraisal Company, Mason valued notable collections including those of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Andy Warhol, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the Rockefeller Foundation, and many others. In addition to his appraisal work, he has taught courses in the fine and decorative arts at Parson’s School of Design, the New York School of Interior Design, and currently is a professor at New York University.

Mason is the translator and author of many articles and books including: The Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture by Wang Shi Xiang, Lark Mason translator; Classic Chinese Furniture of the Qing Dynasty, translator; and Asian Art, author. In the capacity of Chinese art expert at Sotheby’s he was responsible for the cataloging of the sales and appraisal of Chinese works of art, becoming intimately familiar with all aspects of the marketplace. He is an expert in the field of Chinese furniture, having responsibility for this area during his tenure at Sotheby’s. As a Chinese furniture specialist he has valued and advised many private collectors and institutions.

Lark Mason has appraised and advised major American and foreign institutions for the sale and appraisal of Asian and other art including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Freer Museum and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, The Honolulu Academy of Arts, and many others.

He regularly has served on the vetting committees for Chinese and Asian art of numerous art and antique shows including: the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show, the Winter Antiques Show, and The Arts of Pacific Asia Show in New York City.

Asian art sales occur on iGavel in the Fall and Spring and participants include Lark Mason and other iGavel associates who are independent auctioneers, appraisers, and dealers. They include: Daniel Cooney Fine Art (New York), Litchfield County Auctions, (Litchfield CT), Nye and Company (Bloomfield NJ), South Bay Auctions (East Moriches NY), Locati Antiques (Maple Glen PA), Elder’s Fine Art and Antiques (Nokomis FL), Everard & Company (Savannah GA), Bill Lowrie Antiques (Minneapolis MN), and Witherells (Sacramento CA).

Estimates do not include buyer’s premium.
To view online catalogue, visit, when the sale opens.
Phone 212-289-5588
Press Preview: September 27, 5:30-7:30 PM
Sale Date: October 9-24, 2012