Happy Chinese New Year! Calling all Roosters

This weekend sees the celebration of Chinese New Year and we take the opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy New Year!

The upcoming year is, of course, the Year of the Rooster.


Long tradition. A Tang Dynasty painted terracotta Rooster.

The Rooster ranks tenth out of the 12 animals in the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. 2017 is a year of the Rooster.Every 12 years there is a Rooster year, beginning at Chinese New Year. A year of the Rooster always comes after a Monkey year and before a Dog year.

Years of the Rooster include 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, and 2029.

2017 Is a Fire Rooster Year. In Chinese astrology, each zodiac year is not just associated with an animal sign, but also one of five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, or Earth.

Both the zodiac sign and the element shape the astrology of the year. For example, 2017 is a Fire Rooster year. Element-sign combinations recur every 60 years.

The following famous fire Roosters will be 60 this zodiac year: Dawn French, Donny Osmond, Martin Luther King III, Stephen Fry, Hans Zimmer, Dolph Lundgren, and Jools Holland.

Both zodiac sign and element are believed to affect one’s personality and destiny. Below are the five types of Roosters:

Type of Rooster Year of Birth Characteristics
Wood Rooster 1945, 2005 Energetic, overconfident, tender, and unstable
Fire Rooster 1957, 2017 Trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility at work
Earth Rooster 1909, 1969 Lovely, generous, trustworthy, and popular with their friends
Gold Rooster 1921, 1981 Determined, brave, perseverant, and hardworking
Water Rooster 1933, 1993 Smart, quick-witted, tenderhearted, and compassionate


Information courtesy China Highlights

AFE exhibitors featured Asian art

The Antiques for Everyone (AFE) debut show at London Excel closed on Sunday after three days of trade. First editions of shows like this are always difficult and exhibitors reported widely varying results which ranged from ecstatic to downcast.

Several exhibitors showed items of Asian art but three had a significant part of their stand devoted to the genre. Paul Harris Asia Arts displayed a wide variety of mainly Chinese art, including a very large white ceramic statue of Mao Tse Tung created in 1967. It is believed to be unique and carried a £500,000 price tag. It was not sold but it did become something of an attraction and brought many visitors to the stand. The exhibit recorded a number of ‘modest’ sales.

Paul Harris Asia arts stand LR

The Mao statue, extreme left, on the Paul Harris Asia Arts stand at AFE

Philip Carrol, from Yorkshire, is a regular exhibitor at fairs like AFE. He had secured enough sales to make the venture profitable and was generally positive about the experience. Many dealers pointed out that the costs of showing were modest for a London venue. ‘Where can you show in London at this very modest cost?’ one pointed out, ‘We shall take a long term view and stay on board for such a small outlay. The results will come later.’

Philip Carol stand

Also showing was Koos Limburg from Scotland. The firm is also a regular exhibitor at fairs and were showing a number of Chinese items, including some fine ivory.

Koss Limburg stand

Visitor numbers were somewhat depleted on the opening day: it snowed in London (an event which tends to set off panic in the metropolis) and Southern Rail were engaged in one of their regular strike actions. Saturday seemed to be considerably busier. Exhibitors who had circlated their regular clientele in the London area appeared to be rather busier than those trying to built a customer base.

One significant advantage of the fair, from an exhibitor’s point of view, had to be the ease of set up and breakdown. Exhibitors were given the use of an empty hall right next to the exhibition for car parking during both set up and break down. Reactions to this were overwhelmingly positive.



Chinese art as the road to instant riches

opinion It’s happened again. A lucky lady from  got up with the lark some time last year and went to her local car boot sale in Hindhead in Surrey.. Having splashed out all of £2 she returned home clutching a colourful, tiny  (4in. wide) metal object which had rather taken her fancy. Said object is illustrated below.

Well, it’s the same old story. Fired no doubt by The Antiques Road Show, Flog It and Treasures in the Attic, she trolled down the road to John Nicholson’s auctioner.  Nicholson’s were doubtless enthused when they came to the view that the Qianlong mark to the base was of period and that the small cloisonne censer was probaby worth £5,000-8,000. It was a great day for both parties last December 16 when the £2 censer transformed itself magically into a £22,000 treasure trove.


It was, of course, great for vendor, auctioneer and the press. Newspapers and TV love overnight rags to riches stories; tales of effortlessly achieving a small fortune. The £50m. vase discovered under the sink, the porcelain panels under the bed in a seaside bungalow: these make great copy in a rich blend with the mysteries of the Orient.

The immediate after effect, we can reliably report, is to spark hope in the breasts of owners of bijouterie nationwide. Such reports spark energetic scourings of attics, guest bedroom mantlepieces and garages and garden sheds. Within days, a marked increase in emails arrive in our inbox and little old ladies totter into our gallery with chipped, sometimes completely broken, Cantonese vases. Alas, we have always had to disappoint the owners and out of many hundreds of objects not a single one has proved to be worth more than fifty quid.

On The Antiques Road Show only last Sunday, a man who was told that a treasured family heirloom was worth only £500 visibly crumpled in front of the camera. It was apparent that dreams of riches had been brutally snatched away from him. The British public have been led to believe that if it’s Chinese, it’s worth a bomb. Unfortunately, the general level of knowledge of things Chinese is superficial, to put it rather mildly. There are an awful lot of damp squibs out there . . .

And it’s a happy new year for the African elephant . . .

It could well be a happy new year for the African elephant. In a dramatic, and wholly unexpected December 31 announcement, the Chinese government officially announced that it would ban any trading in modern ivory (with the notable and welcome exception of genuine antiquities) by the end of 2017. The ban will begin to take effect, gradually, from March 2017.


Photo courtesy Chinese Art in Scotland

China does, of course, represent the largest market in the world for ivory and such a ban will positively impact upon the preservation of dwindling elephant stock (it is estimated that one African elephant dies to the hands of poachers every fifteen minutes). An effective Chinese ban will significantly help stem the flow of modern ivory coming onto the market. Genuine antiques will still be tradeable under the new directive.

All responsible dealers will be glad to hear this most important piece of news. A Happy New Year to you all!