Splashes of Green: Chinese Ceramics to Shine at Christie’s Asian Art Week (Part I) | Auctions News | THE VALUE

As Christie’s New York celebrates Asian Art Week this month, a major sale of Chinese ceramics and artwork will be held September 22-23, featuring works from important private and institutions.

Leading the sale are a 14th-century Longquan octagonal celadon vase, a mid-17th-century massive famille verte scroll vase, a pair of jade gu-shaped vases marked Qianlong, and three mark-and- from Yongzheng. period porcelains: a large gold-decorated celadon-glazed vase, a ge-type vase and a rare “narcissus bowl” with eel-skin glaze – all of which have one thing in common: the green color palette .

This article is divided into two parts – the first deals with the three Yongzheng ceramics; while the second concerns the other flagship lots.

Lot 917 | A large celadon glaze vase with gilt decoration, ganlanping

Yongzheng seal mark with six characters in underglaze blue and from the period (1723 – 1735)
Height: 42.5cm
Origin:

  • JM Hu (1911-1995), Zande Lou Collection

Estimate: $600,000 – $800,000

Zande Lou, the temporary enjoyment studio, is the collection of the famous connoisseur of Chinese antiquities JM Hu.

Born in 1911 in Beijing, JM Hu was the eldest son of an influential Chinese banker. He first encountered Chinese ceramics during his university years at Yenching University in Beijing.

The early 20th century was considered the golden age of Chinese collecting, as the fall of the Qing dynasty led to many works of art being brought to market for the first time. At the time, the acquisition of Chinese antiques was becoming increasingly competitive. Renowned for his refined taste, JM Hu focused on Ming and Qing ceramics, especially imperial porcelains. In 2017, a Ming Dynasty Wucai fishbowl – once owned by JM Hu – caused a stir in the art world as it fetched HK$213 million at Christie’s Hong Kong.

JM Hu at home. One of the Wucai Fish Jar fetched HK$213 million at Christie’s Hong Kong in 2017

Another example from Hu’s collection is this olive-shaped vase from the Yongzheng period (1723-1735). This vase shape, named for its resemblance to an olive, was popular during the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods.

In 2002, a Yongzheng famille rose olive-shaped vase with fruiting and flowering peach branches was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for HK$41.5 million to Dr Alice YT Cheng – a former member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee. After setting the auction record for Qing porcelains, he took the art world by storm; and Cheng then donated it to the Shanghai Museum.

Covered with a pale blue-green glaze, the vase manifests the imperial taste and artistic style of the Yongzheng Emperor. Around the mouth and the edge of the foot are rarely and exquisitely gilded with a band of floral scrollwork incorporating lotus, peony and hibiscus – all have served as auspicious motifs in Chinese culture. The vase also contained archaic features such as the small cylindrical handles flanking the neck, which can be seen on Western Zhou dynasty bronzes.

The olive jar appears to be in good condition, but one of the horn handles has been damaged and may have been repaired.

Dr. Alice YT Cheng has acquired an olive-shaped Yongzheng vase for a record HK$41.5 million


Lot 929 | A rare ge type vase

Yongzheng seal mark with six characters in underglaze blue and from the period (1723 – 1735)
Height: 33cm
Provenance (modified by value):

  • Christie’s Hong Kong, 27 November 2007, lot 1717, sold: HK$3,607,500

Estimate: $400,000 – $600,000

The current type ge vase was sold at auction in 2007, when it fetched HK$3.6 million against an estimate of HK$3.6 million at Christie’s Hong Kong. Fifteen years later, this vase is now sold in New York with an estimate of US$400,000 – close to the final price at its last auction.

Ge ware, recognized as one of the Five Great Kilns of the Song Dynasty (420-479), has been highly prized and sought after by collectors since its introduction a thousand years ago. Extremely rare and surviving examples of Ge ware are mainly housed in the Palace Museum in Beijing and the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

The most distinguished feature of Ge porcelain is its deliberate crackling pattern – an effect caused by differences in the degree of expansion of different parts of the glaze. Originally an imperfection of technology, master potters saw beauty in cracks and took advantage of it to create unique aesthetics under meticulous control.

With its unique charm, Ge tableware captured the hearts of many connoisseurs – the Qing emperors, known for their passion for antiquities, were no exception. During the Qing dynasty, these revered Ge-type wares were reproduced in imperial kilns – including the current batch, made during the Yongzheng period (r. 1723-1735) with its six-character seal mark imprinted on it.


Lot 930 | A rare glazed ‘eel skin’ narcissus bowl

Yongzheng and period four-character embossed seal mark (1723 – 1735)
Width: 8″
Origin:

  • Nagatani, Tokyo, 1953
  • Stephen Junkunc Collection, III (died 1978)
  • Christie’s New York, September 17, 2008, lot 484

Estimate: $300,000 – $500,000

Footed vessels of this type were first produced in the Jun kiln in Henan province during the Yuan and Ming dynasties (1271-1644). Typically used as a support for a flowerpot of the same shape, these Jun wares were made in a range of sizes – indicated on the base of the vessels by Chinese numerals from one to ten.

The current lot, made in the shape of a lotus with six supporting lobes and a seal mark, was based on these early Jun prototypes, reflecting Emperor Yongzheng’s (r.1723-1735) keen interest in antiquity. As with Jun-type opaque glazes, the shape lends itself well to the use of Eel Skin Yellow – a glaze with a high content of iron and magnesium oxide, which causes fine pyroxene crystals to develop on cooling . Yongzheng porcelains of this shape with crystalline glazes are very rare, and no other examples of tripods with eel-skin glazed supporting lobes appear to have been published.

The ship was once owned by distinguished collector Stephen Junkunc III, whose collection included some of the finest porcelain purchased directly from leading dealers worldwide such as CT Loo, Bluett & Sons, W. Dickinson & Sons and John Sparks. The most coveted in his collection are two examples of the legendary Ru dishes, of which only less than a hundred copies in the world are known.


Other flagship lots:

Lot 794 | Huanghuali Round Corner Tapered Cabinet

17th century
187.3 x 96 x 54.6cm
Origin:

  • Sotheby’s New York, October 10, 1987, lot 491

Estimate: $300,000 – $500,000

Lot 820 | A gilt bronze imperial ritual bell, bianzhong

Kangxi cast mark corresponding to 1713 and period
Height: 30.5cm
Origin:

  • Acquired in Georgia or Louisiana in 1967, then by descent within the family

Estimate: $150,000 – $300,000

Lot 918 | A large famille rose figure of Amitayus

Qianlong period (1736-1795)
Height: 29.5cm
Origin:

  • JM Hu (1911-1995), Zande Lou Collection

Estimate: $150,000 – $250,000

Lot 813 | A pair of large cloisonné enamel panels

Qianlong period (1736-1795)
137.8 × 71.4cm
Origin:

  • The Jerome C. Neuhoff Collection; Sotheby’s New York, January 25, 1986, lot 24

Estimate: $150,000 – $250,000

Lot 715 | A yellow jade figure of a recumbent mythical beast

Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Length: 10.8cm
Origin:

  • The Gerald Godfrey Collection
  • The Gerald Godfrey Private Collection of Fine Chinese Jades; Christie’s Hong Kong, October 30, 1995, lot 866
  • T. Eugene Worrell

Estimate: $100,000 – $150,000

Lot 826 | Finely cast bronze ritual tripod food vessel, lid

Late Shang dynasty, Anyang, 12th-11th century BC.
Height: 21cm
Origin:

  • SH Minkenhof Collection (1879-1956), Amsterdam, Paris and New York
  • Mr. and Mrs. Ivan B. Hart Collection, New York
  • Eskenazi, London
  • Me. Claude Boisgirard and me. Axel de Heeckeren, Hotel Drouot, Paris, March 15, 1982, lot 46

Estimate: $80,000 – $120,000


Auction details:
Auction house: Christie’s New York
Sale: Important Ceramics and Chinese Works of Art
Date: September 22 – 23, 2022
Number of batches: 344

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