Sotheby’s New York will be presenting its bi-annual Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art for the Asia Week series of auctions. The sale will offer works from more than 50 private collections, including a Japanese collection and a North American collection. The Japanese collection consists of 53 lots that reflect the historical significance and eloquence of East Asian art.
Highlights include a gilt-bronze votive stele of Guanyin, Northern Wei Dynasty, which illustrates bodhisattva Padmapani, known as the lotus bearer. It is estimated to sell between $200,000 and $300,000. Other highlights of this widely-exhibited Japanese collection include a molded “Ding” dish, Northern Song Dynasty, estimated at $100,000-$150,000, and a carved “Ding” dish. Song Dynasty, estimated at $120,000-$150,000.
The North American collection was put together by a Canadian and American family who traveled throughout Asia, Europe and North America, tracking down the best Chinese jade and porcelain they could find. The numerous items in this collection were accumulated between the 1930s and 1990s. Highlights include a pale Celadon jade “Longevity” table screen extracted from the Qing Dynasty of the 18th and 19th century, estimated at $60,000-$80,000, and a Fahua lotus jar from the Ming Dynasty of the 16th century, estimated at $40,000-$60,000.
The most important highlight of this collection is an Imperial Qing Dynasty green jade “Dragon” seal, which holds an estimate of $1-1.5 million. The seal is a symbol of celebration of the Qianlong emperor’s life. The emperor turned 70 at the start of the 1870s, and in honor of this milestone birthday he called upon his craftsmen to carve out a series of seals to represent prosperity. Inscribed on the seals were the words “Guxi Tianzi,” which translates to “Seal of the seventy-year-old son of heaven.”
Three years later, the emperor’s first great-grandson was born. To honor this birth, the emperor added to the inscription the words “Wufu Wudai Tang Guxi Tianzi,” which translates to “Seal of the Seventy-Year-Old Son of Heaven at the Hall of Five Happiness’s and Five Generations.” The auction will be held March 19th and 20th at Sotheby’s New York, 1334 York Ave. at 72nd Street, (212) 606-7000.