Art Antiques London features three Asian Art in London participants

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A general view of the stand at Art Antiques London featuring three participants in this year’s Asian Art in London event. Foreground: two soldier Chinese vases available from Gibson Antiques at £300,000.                       Photo Paul Harris

The Art Antiques London exhibition, in tented accommodation in Kensington Gardens, and which has run from June 12 and ends June 18, features a number of exhibitors selling Asian art, including three participants in this year’s Asian Art in London. Last year, Asian Art in London had a pavilion within the fair featuring a wider spread of participants but, this year, just three showed a range of Asian art: Gibson Antiques, Berwald Oriental Art (both showing mainly Chinese ceramics) and Jacqueline Simcox (textiles).

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Alastair Gibson of Gibson Antiques pictured at Art Antiques London  Photo Paul Harris

Other exhibitors with Asian antiques included Luis Alegria LDA (Porto, Portugal), Marchant (Kensington Church Street, London), Laura Bordignon (Japanese), and D & M Freedman (Japanese and Chinese ceramics and paintings).

Art Antiques London describes itself as ‘the jewel in the Crown’ of the London summer season. It most certainly enjoys an unrivalled location and ambience in Kensington Gardens, a stone’s throw from The Royal Albert Hall. As all the major exhibition organisers get increasingly sophisticated, the organisers, Anna and Brian Haughton, pay great attention to those details which enhance an exhibition: from the learned lecture programme which accompanies the event to the exquisite toilet accommodation which must surely be the best of any event!

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Lion dog finial gracing one of the two soldier vases available from Gibson Antiques.                  Photo Paul Harris

Asian Art in London 2015

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Asian Art in London, the signature series of events for Asian art enthusiasts, collectors and dealers, takes place this year November 5-14, a little later in the calendar than in recent years. It will be some time before the melange of exhibitions, lectures, auctions and gallery openings are announced: the catalogue is usually issued in September. However, it is now known that the Gala Party will not be held on the evening of November 4 at The Victoria & Albert Museum, as previously intimated in print media. A further announcement is promised shortly.

Hong Kong expert questions security in the China art market

As we reported ten days ago, a heart-stopping presentation during Asian Art in London, sponsored by Edinburgh-based auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull, was made by a Senior Inspector in the Hong Kong Police, also a private art security consultant, Toby J A Bull. In our view, it was probably the most significant talk in a long series of events.

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Toby J A Bull of Trackart Art Risk Consultancy, Hong Kong  Photo Paul Harris

The talk, entitled A Quest for Authenticity in the Chinese Art Market, dealt with a range of areas of concern for dealers and collectors ranging from the nebulous role of Hong Kong in the international trade to tomb robbing, fakes and forgeries, money laundering and theft. He started his presentation with a dramatic quotation from the novel The Gilded Seal by James Twining: ‘Forgery is the paedophilia of the art world. Once the suspicion is raised, you are presumed guilty, even when proven innocent. It’s a shadow that never leaves, poisoning everything you touch. So you need to be either very brave, or very sure that you’re right, before you try forgery in this city . . .’. As a result, the Hong Kong art business is a tightly held industry difficult to penetrate and opaque in the extreme.

Bull emphasised initially that he was not talking on behalf of the Hong Kong Police, although he is a Senior Inspector there. There is no art crime squad within the Hong Kong Police. As he spun his tale, however, it became quite clear why he was not talking on behalf of the Police: the Police Authority simply has no role in preventing illegal activities related to the art world.

The 1997 agreement between China and the UK specifically provided for strict Chinese laws on the protection of cultural relics NOT to apply to Hong Kong: one country, two systems. There are separate Export Laws and in terms of Hong Kong’s Import and Export Ordinance (Part IV), there is provision for a Freeport handling ‘Unmanifested Cargo’ which simply facilitates smuggling. Once goods have passed through the Freeport of Hong Kong they are effectively legitimised with all the necessary export-import paperwork. This is particularly relevant in relation to the import of antiquities to mainland China where an import duty of around 35% is imposed.

The vast volume of goods in containers means that a statistically minute proportion is ever examined. Between 1992 and 1996 (under the UK) HK$ 15 million of Chinese antiquities were seized in HK; the figure went down dramatically between 1997 and 2006 totalling HK$2.3m.; between 2007 and 2012 no Chinese antiquities at all were seized ! Many of these containers carry thousands of copies of antiquities: forgeries. Not only is porcelain copied on an industrial scale within mainland China, but, even, Kuomintang stickers to accompany items said to originate from the haul of evacuated antiquities during the dying days of the civil war 1948-49. The quality of fakes is now extremely high.

There is no unit in the Hong Kong police these days engaged in investigating illegal activities in the local art world despite the fact that large quantities of stolen and forged artefacts pass through the Freeport every week. These include the products of tomb robbing in China. Such looting “requires an elaborate, multi-layered network of grave robbers, middlemen and art dealers.” Such networks flourish in China.

Hong Kong very often benefits. In 2002, antiquities looted from eight outer temples of The Forbidden City were included in a Christie’s Hong Kong auction catalogue and were ultimately withdrawn from sale. Christie’s deemed it an isolated case’ and averred that it ‘devoted considerable resources to investigating the provenance of all objects offered for sale’.

“The majority of art is stolen for money laundering purposes and art sales are often components of the laundering process,” Bull said. The media usually reports in terms of dramatic value the stealing of works of art. This helps the criminals who will fund their ongoing activities at around 3-10% of such publicised value. Effectively, stolen art is used as a financial underpinning to the China-Hong Kong underworld.

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One of Toby Bull’s slides from his presentation    Photo Paul Harris

In Hong Kong, anti-money laundering regulatory action is based within the Anti-Money Laundering task Force (AMLTF) of which China and Hong Kong are both members. It investigates both financial institutions and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Profession (DNBFs). Incredibly, the art market is not classified amongst the DNBF’s!

On occasion, thefts are particularly brazen. In April 2014, the Chinese mainland auctioneer Poly International held an auction in the Hong Kong Grand Hyatt Hotel where the hammer went down for the equivalent of US$3.7m. on a painting by the popular Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo (see below). It was packed up for delivery to the buyer and stacked for collection whereupon it disappeared and has never been seen since. The Hong Kong Police were involved but were obliged to back off after Poly roundly declared it was simply ‘lost property’. Many in the Police Authority believe it was simply stolen and that Poly were keen to have the whole unedifying matter dropped . . .

 

Michael Goedhuis puts his case for the importance of Chinese ink painting

We recently visited the show of the works of Yang Yanping ,an important exponent of the art of Chinese ink painting, organised by Michael Goedhuis for Asian Art in London. As part of the excellent published material associated with the exhibition, there was an elegantly produced manifesto, written by Goedhuis himself, elucidating the reasoning behind his views on the growing importance of Chinese ink artists.

He strongly believes that Chinese ink artists are profoundly relevant to contemporary Chinese society but until  recently have been largely neglected by curators and critics alike, with prices therefore undervalued. Although Mr Goedhuis has a clear and declared interest in promoting Chinese ink painting (and, indeed, has been showing it for more than 20 years), we think this document is well argued and is important in its relevance to the appreciation of contemporary Chinese art We are pleased to be able to reproduce it here with the permission of Michael Goedhuis.

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From the Yang Yanping exhibition.  Photo courtesy Michael Goedhuis

Chinese ink artists are important  as representing the link between China’s great past and the galloping  pace towards her future. Their work incorporates a deep understanding of classical Chinese culture which they believe to be essential in their  quest to create a new pictorial language which expresses the  fundamentals of today’s world. I believe therefore that the new  generation of collectors in China and the diaspora will look at this  area of the art-market as the most significant contemporary  manifestation of Chinese civilization, with all that that will mean for  price levels.

 Our view can be summarized in the following points:

A.    Ink painting and calligraphy is the supreme art of China.

B.    As such it has had enormous prestige not only for the educated elite but also for the Chinese in general.

C.    The Chinese are deeply sensitive to the loss of much of their cultural  heritage extracted from them by the colonial powers in the 19th century  and are now aggressive buyers. 

D.   The exponential increase in wealth allied to an annual proliferation of new museums can only lead to an intensification of buying, and contemporary in China, as in the rest of the world, is… or will shortly be… cool. 

E.    Ink art is the quintessential art-form of Chinese civilization and its  contemporary version, rooted in works of unquestioned virtuosity and  quality, will provide the new buyers with a foothold not only in what is fashionable but what is meaningful as a continuation of the vitality of Chinese culture.

F.    Finally leaving aside the all-important China factor, it is evident, as we see  in the current museum programs and auction-house initiatives, that ink  is attracting the attention of both in a big way, with all that implies  for its new status in the art-world at large.

 
1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

China is the oldest surviving civilization on earth and it is our contention that Chinese  contemporary ink works, from calligraphy and painting to photography and video, express the continuation of this vast past in ways which are  meaningful for society today both in China and the West.

 

Visitors to China  today will have noticed that, unlike in India, virtually no historical  monuments, let alone country houses, literati pavilions or even old  villages, still exist. The architectural heritage of the past has been  extinguished and now we are only left with what  has been built in the past 100 years or less. This is a phenomenon  virtually unique to China and is relevant to why the moral and spiritual life of the Chinese became embodied, not in  their materiel heritage, but principally in works of the written word…  in calligraphy and painting.

This dissolution of China’s architectural legacy is not just due to the ravages of her many violent dynastic conflicts. Much indeed was destroyed by the Taiping  insurrection in the mid-19th century and even more devastation was  inflicted by the Cultural Revolution, during which many cities lost  almost every historic and cultural relic forever. But the main reason,  unlike in monuments from ancient Egypt to the modern West which were  built to last, has been the perishable and fragile materials used which  decay rapidly and require frequent rebuilding.

 

The reason why this is pertinent to our study of contemporary ink art is that we have  to understand that in Chinese society it has never been the survival of  monuments that has counted… it is the survival of a ‘past of the mind…  the only truly enduring embodiment of eternal human experience are  LITERARY ones’… as F.W. Mote has so eloquently expressed it.

 

2. CALLIGRAPHY: THE SUBLIME AND CENTRAL ACHIEVEMENT OF CHINA

It has been almost  impossible until recently for westerners to grasp the significance of  calligraphy for the Chinese. It has been the foundation-stone of their  society since the dawn of civilization. As Simon Leys has written ‘it is the most elite of all arts… practiced by emperors, aesthetes, monks and poets’ throughout history but also ostentatiously alive today in  advertisements cinema posters, restaurants, tea-houses, railway  stations, temples and on rough peasant village doors and walls.

The original  purpose of Chinese script, which goes back c.3700 years and appears on  tortoise shells and shoulder blades of oxen, was to forecast all major  decisions of state: harvest and hunting, war and peace. Gradually  however, from the latter part of the Han period (3rd century AD), its  original purpose was eclipsed by a growing interest in its aesthetic  character and in its role as a conduit for the calligrapher’s individual creativity. And from then on it became the most important of all the  arts, with painting as its intimate but subservient partner.

Calligraphy is  executed in ink on silk or paper, with a brush. In order to master this  brush on the absorbent paper, which tolerates no error or correction,  the artist has to achieve a high degree of concentration, balance and  control. It is these qualities, allied to intuition and intelligence,  that make his art, like the other three major arts of china, painting,  poetry and music (of the ‘Qin’ or zither) one of interpretation. In this respect the calligrapher can be compared to the pianist who interprets  the composer but whose every touch, like every brush-stroke by a great  calligrapher, becomes an extension of the interpreters mind.

Although  calligraphy became the preeminent and elite art of China, with its  masters, critics, connoisseurs and collectors, it has also been  practiced for hundreds of years by literally millions of Chinese for  whom it is a method for achieving the harmonious integration of mind and body, the key to supreme enlightenment.

But as its high  status evolved, it was its indissoluble association with the  scholar-gentleman and his mastery of the art that established it as  manifesting the core concept of Chinese civilization… HARMONY… whether  it pertains to the structure of society or to the individual’s alignment with the universal rhythms of the universe. And so it became the  purpose of civilized man, of the gentleman, to become part of the  dynamic rhythm of creation and to contribute to the coherent ordering of society. So this elite of scholars became perhaps the most cultivated  elite the world has known… intent on practicing the arts of  calligraphy, painting, poetry and music in order to realize their own  humanity by cultivating and developing the inner life. The rich  intellectual and spiritual life of these literati has been captured in  many enchanting paintings depicting their gatherings in shaded garden  pavilions, drinking wine, composing poetry, practicing and enjoying  calligraphy and painting, as well as refining the art of convivial  conversation.

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From the Yang Yanping exhibition   Photo courtesy Michael Goedhuis

3. PAINTING

Painting, together  with calligraphy, poetry and music, constitutes one of the four key  traditional arts of China and is an extension of the art of calligraphy. It is therefore, like calligraphy, linked to the sacred prestige of the WRITTEN WORD. One’s first encounter with a Chinese painting will  immediately betray its literary nature. Unlike a western painting that  hangs on a wall, the Chinese work is mounted in the form of a scroll,  which by its nature is related to the world of books. It belongs to the  realm of the written word.

A further  distinction that has made it difficult for western art lovers to fully  appreciate Chinese painting is that the Chinese is simply not interested in transcribing or depicting reality. His objective is rather to ‘write the meaning of things’… to express the IDEA. Thus the role of the  painting is to incorporate the minimum visual codes or clues to inspire  its full and invisible fruition in the viewer’s IMAGINATION.

Again, the Chinese  aesthetic is very different to that of the West. The prime purpose for  the scholar is the cultivation of an inner life, the ultimate aim of  which is to perfect one’s character in order to attain the moral stature befitting one’s status as a gentleman. Thus the notion of beauty as  such is irrelevant, indeed is often considered to be a superficial  distraction from the purpose of nourishing the energy of the gentleman  in capturing the spirit or essence of nature. In fact the ultimate  ‘beauty’ of a work does not depend on its beauty. It is the result of  its inner ‘truth’ and it is this moral concept that is at the heart of  all Chinese aesthetics.

The above  background is I hope helpful in coming to understand that art for the  Chinese is part and parcel of their concept of morality and of how to  live ones life and how to order society. And it is the written word (the word in ink)  that is the binding agent constituting the continuity of  the revered civilization and essential for understanding Chinese society past and present.

4. CONTEMPORARY LITERATI ART: INK ART

The successors of  the gentleman-scholars described above are today’s ink artists. They are deeply aware of the classical canon and its aesthetic and moral  imperatives and have carefully studied the old masters. However, just as Picasso and Cezanne studied Raphael, Poussin, Velasquez and others in  order to create THEIR revolutionary pictorial language, so the new  literati are doing the same in order to formulate their own revolution  for their work to be relevant to, and meaningful for, the world of  today. And revolutionary and culturally subversive it is. More subtle  than the contemporary oil painters with their abrasive handling of  overtly political themes, the ink painters embody their revolutionary  message in works that are not afraid to take account of the past in  order to make sense of the present.

Very many different stylistic approaches have therefore evolved over the past 30 years. Works now range from those that at first sight look quite traditional but in fact embody powerful fresh aesthetic initiatives by artists like Liu Dan, Li Xubai, Li Huayi and Yang Yanping, to those that are unambiguously  avant-garde seen in the works of Yang Jiechang, Qiu Anxiong, Qiu Zhijie  and others.

But all of the best contemporary practitioners have a common purpose… to create works that  do not jettison the great cultural legacy of the past in formulating a  language that addresses the intellectual cultural and social issues of  today.

It is our view  therefore that these few (only 50 or so of international stature)  artists are poised to assume a historic relevance as the cultural  conduit between China’s great past and her future. And as such they are  likely to shortly become the target of the new generation of collectors  and museums in China and the diaspora who, in their new-found national  pride and following the global fashion that only contemporary is cool,  will be hungry for contemporary manifestations of their country’s  enduring civilization.

5. THE MARKET

We have been  collecting and dealing in contemporary Chinese art since the early  nineties and have increasingly focused on ink works which until recently have been largely neglected by curators and critics and are still  commercially very undervalued.

Contemporary  Chinese art, including ink painting, was a niche product from the early  nineties to 2004 when an explosion of interest from a small but intense  coterie of buyers emerged from first Europe and then America which drove prices to five times their then value in three years. Ink painting was  part of this movement but rose much less dramatically in price, yielding popularity to the oil painters’ titillating political themes that  attracted a somewhat gullible western audience. Many of the minor stars  in the latter field have witnessed a sharp fall in their prices due to a belated re-evaluation by collectors and of course to the economic  crisis, which affected western buying.

Now however, as the art-market regains momentum and connoisseurship becomes more mature, there is a growing groundswell of interest in ink art both because of its inherent quality and because of its relevance to the  society of China today and by extension to the art-world in general.

The three major auction houses in the West and the two leading houses in China are all now involved in creating specific ink art sales platforms… both via  conventional auctions and private treaty sales. This is a new and  significant development which is allied to the series of ambitious ink  exhibitions that have been taking place in western museums over the past two years (MFA Boston, British Museum, Musée Guimet, Ashmolean Museum  in Oxford and others, with a major initiative planned for an opening at  the Metropolitan Museum this December).

All of this has of course begun to affect price levels and now,  for a handful of artists (Liu Dan, Li Huayi and Xu Lei are examples),  prices are hitting the hundreds and thousands of US dollars. But the  remaining best practitioners, of whom there are only approximately forty or so in the world of recognized international stature, can still be  acquired for $100,000 downwards. It is worth noting here that this  generations’ ink painting predecessors… artists who have died in the  last few years… are now fetching up to $50 million at auction in China, where the demand for modern ink painting is reaching ever new heights…!

6. CONCLUSION

As stated in the  beginning of this brief survey, we believe that it is almost inevitable  that the new generation of Chinese museum and private art-buyers,  fuelled by increasing wealth and renewed national pride, as well as the  for them aggravating competition from the exhibitions taking place in  WESTERN institutions, will shortly turn their attention to this  quintessential current manifestation of Chinese civilization. And this  will have a dramatic effect on the price levels of the relatively few  works of art produced in any one year by the handful of ink artists that can be ranked as world-class. Watch this space.

 

Michael Goedhuis

Five-dragon vase gets £230,000 at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury

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5-dragon vase star of the show at £230,000 hammer

DreweattsChinese Ceramics and Asian Works of Art sale this last week offered collectors an enticing range of Asian ceramics, jades, glass, ivory, textiles, furniture and works of art. Collectors and dealers were out in force in the wake of Asian Art Week resulting in impressive hammer prices.

A blue and white “Five Dragons” vase, bearing a Jiaqing mark to base, initiated a fierce battle between two telephone bidders, before finally selling for a highly satisfactory £230,000. Superbly decorated with five fine dragons rising above crashing waves, the vessel yielded an impressive evocation of the Emperor’s majestic and benevolent rule and may have well been strictly associated with the Jiaqing ruler. Capable of flying high in the sky and diving back in the sea, dragons were, since the earliest phases of Chinese history, empowered with supernatural, auspicious powers, comparable with those of the emperors.

Further associations of The Five Dragons with The Five Generating Forces of the Universe, The Five Directions and The Five Blessings of virtue, longevity, wealth, health and peaceful death, evoke a cosmic diagram that, positioning a righteous ruler at the center of the “All Under Heaven”,  also acted as powerful symbol for the virtue of the foreign Jiaqing emperor in his quest to justify his right to the throne of China [Lot 101].

Another top seller in the sale was a bronze model of a recumbent deer with coral antlers and body intricately inlaid in gold and silver with designs of supernatural creatures, in Warring States revival typical of the time. This unusual piece possibly dated back to the Song dynasty. With a pre-sale estimate of £3,000-5,000 and after huge amounts of interest in the room, online and on the telephones the delicate piece finally sold for £60,000 [Lot 7].

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An unusual recumbent bronze deer £60,000

 

 

 


 
 
 
 
 

It’s the word on the street . . . Sotheby’s man Robertson spills the beans

exclusive sloping to top

On Monday of last week, Sotheby’s Institute Head of Art Business Studies, Ian Robertson, got to his feet in The Albemarle Gallery and spilled the beans on where it is at in the Asian art market . . .  and where it is going. Here are the highlights!

In relation to the Chinese art market (our concern) he confirmed the popularity of everything Qing. Rather surprisingly, he observed, “If you have a Quianlong vase, you should bring it to the market now.” The implication was clear: the rise may not continue.

Addressing the question of why Asian Art in London is so popular, he said that London dealers have the best stock. An off the cuff observation was made about long-established dealer Eskenazi, “Where on earth does Eskenazi get it all?” He applauded the current exhibition in Clifford Street but there was a genuine bemusement on Robertson’s part as to how the dealer kept unearthing such wonderful items.

An area he tipped for rising prices is what he termed ‘Russian Asia’ where “the market is very strong”. He said that there “most of the money goes into non-traditional oil paintings”. Also he saw growth in “unique photographs and high quality limited editions”.

In general terms, he said that “Once an artist has made it in Asia he will be around for a while . . .  there are plenty of collectors and his works will circulate around them for a while.” However, he opined that “it is still rare to see good contemporary Asian art in London.”

Remember, you heard it here first!

Asian Art in London: Vietnamese Contemporary lifts off

Re-published from www.vietnamart.co.uk

SONY DSC  Raquelle Azran in Masons’ Yard Photo Paul Harris

There have been several shows of Vietnamese contemporary art on in London to coincide with the annual event, Asian Art in London (www.asianartinlondon.com). A regular participant in the event is New York-based dealer Raquelle Azran who has been promoting Vietnamese contemporary art and artists worldwide for almost 20 years. Pictured above is part of her exhibit which this year was mounted in St James’s, London, in Masons’ Yard.

Last year she showed in WC1, slightly off the beaten track. Her more central location this year has paid dividends. “I have been very busy this year and just a few days into (the event) I have sold three paintings.” She generally does three UK fairs a year and this year has been at The Affordable Art Fair (Battersea) and The Affordable Art Fair (Hampstead Heath) as well as Asian Art in London. Now she is off to Hamburg with her peripatetic show! In January, she will show at Art Palm Beach. On the first Saturday of the Fair she delivered a talk in the Gallery to around 50 people and, afterwards, there was Vietnamese food laid on by the Vietnamese Embassy in London.

The Vietnamese mission in London had a busy weekend as they also opened their own exhibition of 20th century art drawn from public collections in the Republic. The Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism showed examples of lacquer painting and handicrafts in Kensington Church Street. Although not officially part of Asian Art in London, as the Street is one of the main location for exhibitors in the event there was a good spillover into the temporary gallery. The event was curated by Truc Nguyen, who divides herself between London and Hanoi and operates Egret, a consultancy (www.egretlondon.com).

Vietnamese art exhibit Kensington Church St (8) Photo Paul Harris

The most common question we found asked of her by amazed visitors, most of whom had never seen Vietnamese art before, was “Can we buy any of these pictures?” Of course, the answer was, No. There were some very remarkable works on show, including examples of pyrography (works created by the use of fire) by one of the two artists in the world working with this unusual medium, Trang Nghia Nguyen. To be specific, he makes the fire from a mixture of bat droppings and sugar . . .  surely an explosive mix!

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Left Truc Nguyen pictured with Thu Nguyen    Photo Paul Harris

Coincidentally just down the road on Kensington Church Street is to be found the permanent gallery named Art East 133, run by owner Sylvie Skeet. She has been dealing in Vietnamese contemporary art since the year 2000 and bought her gallery in 2010. There you can see Vietnamese art pretty much anytime!

Asian Art in London: Chinese export ware appears to be on the up . . .

Asian Art in London is always invaluable when it comes to identifying trends. This year, we visited three significant exhibitions of Chinese export ware, an area of collecting which has, let us say, been neglected in the rush for blue and white and pretty famille rose . . .

This year, Will Motley of Cohen & Cohen had one spectacular piece on display, and an array of other simply wonderful pieces in two-floored premises on Jermyn Street. The exhibition, and the accompanying book, shared the same intriguing title, Hit & Myth. The fabulous Yongzheng bowl dated 1735 (pictured below) was sold to an important museum in the Far East. The proposed destination is top secret for the moment as committee approval and paperwork is finalised. The bowl is highly unusual in that it portrays the actual making of porcelain. “As far as we know, there are only two of such bowls in the world,” Will Motley revealed.

It is the second time that Motley has sold this particular bowl. Hardly surprisingly, he is addicted to export porcelain. “It is the forgotten cousin,” he says. “It is a complex field with many sub-categories like armorial porcelain and famille verte.

“Many Chinese buyers are bemused by it,.” says Motley. Apparently, they simply fail to recognise it, so different is it from their normal taste. However, that may be changing, “I have, at least, been asked to sell single items which were part of a pair . . .The Chinese simply don’t get it.”

The title of the exhibition, and the book Hit & Myth (£35), reflects the presence of several mythological pieces and three or four other most unusual items.

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Bound for a museum in the Far East . . .  Yongzheng bowl (1735)        Photo Paul Harris

In Kensington Church Street,  Marchants baptised their new premises, at 101, across the road from their well established ones (which are showing blanc de chine currently), with a selection of alluring pieces. Marchant, a long established firm, have an equally long commitment to Chinese export ware.

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Marchants new premises at 101 Kensington Church Street (abovePhoto Paul Harris

An exquisite and unusual bowl on display at Marchants   Photo Paul Harris

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Across the road from Marchant’s export ware emporium, dealer Jorge Welsh has his Out of the Ordinary exhibition. He avers that Chinese export porcelain was produced in an ‘extraordinary’ range of shapes during the late 17th and 18th centuries ‘some of which are truly out of the ordinary’. These were frequently ordered in small quantities and through the private trade. They reflect many changing aspects of daily life at the time. There is a fascinating hardback book Out of the Ordinary (£100), which we shall look at later.

We were particularly attracted by one piece, a pair of famille rose goose tureens with covers. In extraordinary condition and highly unusual, they are worth recording here in some detail (supplied by Jorge Welsh).

Pair of Famille Rose Goose Tureens and Covers

Photo Jorge Welsh      Pair of famille rose Goose Tureens and Covers

Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795)

Porcelain decorated in overglaze enamels of the famille rose palette

Height: 32.5 cm; length: 39 cm; width: 25 cm

A pair of large tureens, each naturalistically modelled in two pieces as a goose with webbed feet tucked beneath the body, wings folded against the back, a long neck and small head with a slightly open beak, which serves as a handle for the tureen cover. The detailed plumage is moulded, incised and painted in different shades of brown, while the wings are painted in light brown, dark brown and blue enamel. The neck and head are painted with brown enamels, while the bulge on top of the head and circles around the eyes are painted in pink and the eyes are detailed in black. The beak and the feet are painted in different shades of orange enamel.

Jorge Welsh explains: Large soup tureens in naturalistic forms representing animals and birds were probably modelled after faience examples which were very much in fashion during the 18th century, in conjunction with rococo taste in Europe. Impressive centerpieces, these tureens accompanied table-services and were created for the amusement of guests dining in wealthy households. Large tureens were modelled in the form of fish, geese, roosters, boar’s and ox-head’s, which were also occasionally accompanied by tureen stands. Smaller vegetable and sauce tureens in the shape of crabs, fish, sows, dormice, tortoises and ducks have been recorded, amongst other shapes.

Although the actual prototype has not yet been identified, goose-shaped tureens were most likely derived from European ceramic models, which became increasingly fashionable in the 1740s. Large goose tureens were produced in Germany at the Höchst faience factory, which was patronized by the Elector of Mainz. They were possibly modelled by G. F. Hess, but surviving examples are rare.[1] The director of the factory, Adam von Löwenfinck, left in 1749 and joined the Strasbourg factory, where goose, turkey and cock tureens, among others, were made in faience from 1750 to 1754, from where this fashion spread across France.[2] This type of goose tureen was also produced at the Meissen factory by J. J. Kaendler in the middle of the century and at the Real Fábrica do Rato in Lisbon by Master Tomás Bruneto.[3] These pieces were greatly appreciated and much in demand in Portugal during the 18th century.

Although large goose tureens were usually purchased through private order, demand was such that the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ordered 25 similar tureens for its stock in 1763. The VOC archives record that ‘25 tureens, the form as a boar’s head, the stand finely painted’ and 25 ‘in the form of a goose’ were ordered. In 1764, 19 more boar’s heads and four goose tureens were shipped at fl. 10.50 each.[4] The same year the directors asked for 30 more tureens, but the purchase did not materialise because the supercargoes considered it too risky.

Chinese porcelain goose tureens were manufactured in two similar forms, but one has a much shorter neck than the other. The larger type usually measures about 40 cm in height while the one with shorter neck measures about 34 cm. Each type is often found in pairs of virtually identical form and decoration. The decoration of goose tureens varies from the very naturalistic to more fanciful interpretations of the famille rose palette. Goose tureens with short necks are not recorded as having stands painted with a representation of the same animal.

Similar goose tureens to the present examples, modelled with a shorter neck, are in the Palacio Nacional de Queluz,[5] in the British Museum in London,[6] and in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum.[7] Other examples were in the Mildred and Rafi Mottahedeh collection[8] and the Helena Woolworth McCann collection.[9] An example of this type but presenting a lavish decoration heightened in gilt is found in the C.T. Loo Collection in Paris.[10]

Goose tureens with tall necks are found in the Carmona e Costa Foundation in Lisbon[11] and in the former Mottahedeh collection.[12] Another belongs to a private collection and is illustrated by Pinto de Matos.[13] A pair was in the Chateau de Plaisance, built by Pâris-Duverney (1684-1770), who was an advisor (1723-26) to the Duc de Bourbon and a protégé of the Marquise de Pompadour, and also director of the French Compagnie des Indes.[14] A further pair of goose tureens mounted in silver and made for the English market is in the collection of Brodick Castle, probably formerly in the collection of William Beckford in Fonthill Abbey.[15]

Goose tureens with tall necks are also recorded from armorial services for the Spanish market. A set of tureens including a goose, rooster and boar’s head, each accompanied by stands, was part of a large service made for the Asteguieta family.[16] Another example bears the arms of the Cervantes family[17] and one tureen from the Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva Collection bears the arms of Don Matias de Gálvez y Gallardo, viceroy of New Spain (1783-1784).[18]


[1] See Howard and Ayers, 1978, vol. II, p. 591.

[2] For an example of a turkey tureen see Fennimore and Halfpenny, 2000, p. 178, pl. 97.

[3] Pinto de Matos and Salgado, 2002, p. 148.

[4] Jörg, 1982, p. 190.

[5] This tureen is illustrated in situ by Ferro, 1998, p. 72.

[6] Krahl, and Harrison-Hall, 1994, pp. 208-209, pl. 91.

[7] Palmer, 1976, pp. 56-57, fig. 25.

[8] Howard and Ayers, ibid.. p. 590, pl. 614.

[9] Phillips, 1956, p. 160, pl. 72.

[10] Beurdeley, 1962, p. 172, cat. 102.

[11] Pinto de Matos and Salgado, ibid. pp. 148-149, pl. 40.

[12] This example was exhibited in the exhibition Oriental Ceramic Society, 1968, cat. 297 and is illustrated in Howard and Ayers, ibid., p. 591, pl. 615.

[13] Pinto de Matos, 2011, vol. II, p. 114-115, pl. 258.

[14] Beurdeley and Raindre, 1986, p. 205, pl. 279.

[15] See, Sargent, 1991, p. 210.

[16] Illustrated and exhibited in The Art of the Qing Potter: Important Chinese Export Porcelain, 1997, p. 71, colour pl. 50.

[17] Mudge, 1986, pp. 54, figs. 62-64.

[18] Fundaçao Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva, 2000, p. 68, pl. 53. Also illustrated in Beurdeley, ibid., p. 85, pl. XVII.

 

Asian Art in London Special Events October 31-November 8 2014

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Family Event

Magnificent Ming China Friday, October 31, 2014

  • 10.00 – 16.00
  • The British Museum Great Court Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG
  • Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8299 Website www.britishmuseum.org
  • Admission free
  • Exhibition

    Preview of Hong Kong and Paris Auctions: The Arts of Ming and Other Highlights Friday, October 31, 2014 to Monday, November 3, 2014

    • Fri 10.00 – 16.30        Sat 12.00 – 17.00         Sun 12.00 – 20.00        Mon 3rd 09.00 – 16.30
    • Christie’s 8 King Street, St James’s London SW1Y 6QT
    • Pedram Rasti Phone +44 (0)20 7389 2556 Email pprasti@christies.com
    • Admission is free
  • Lecture

    Curator’s Introduction to Ming: 50 Years that Changed China Friday, October 31, 2014

    • 13.30 – 14.30
    • The British Museum BP Lecture Theatre Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8181 Website www.britishmuseum.org
    • Admission free, booking essential

    by Professor Craig Clunas

  • Lecture

    Yama to Oni: Ghosts and Demons in Asian Art Friday, October 31, 2014

    by Jasleen Kandhari To coincide with Halloween, explore representations of ghosts, demons and the afterlife in the cultures of Asia.

  • Gallery Talk

    An Introduction to Ming Textiles:  Their History and Design Friday, October 31, 2014

    • 16.00 – 17.00
    • Stoppenbach & Delestre 17 Ryder Street, St James’s London SW1Y 6PY
    • Mobile +44 (0)7775 566 388 Email js@jacquelinesimcox.com
    • Admission fee (standing room only)

    by Jacqueline Simcox A discussion of textiles in her exhibition

  • Gallery Talk

    Akbar’s Atelier: The Zafarnama in Context Friday, October 31, 2014

    • 18.30
    • Prahlad Bubbar 33 Cork Street, Mayfair London W1S 3NQ
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7494 3144 Email info@prahladbubbar.com
    • Admission free, places limited, booking essential

    by Robert Skelton OBE

  • Gallery Talk

    Habits of Harmony in Vietnamese Fine Art Saturday, November 1, 2014

    • 15.00
    • Raquelle Azran Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art @ Guy Peppiatt/Stephen Ongpin Gallery 6 Mason’s Yard Duke Street, St James’s London SW1Y 6BU
    • Mobile +44 (0)7906 638 640 Email raquelle.azran@gmail.com
    • Admission free, booking recommended

    by Raquelle Azran, Raquelle Azran Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art

  • Late Night Opening

    Late Night Opening Kensington Church Street Saturday, November 1, 2014

    • 17.00 – 21.00
    • Kensington Church Street London W8
    • Admission free

    Receptions will be held at: AR PAB Alvaro Roquette – Pedro Aguiar-Branco, Gregg Baker Asian Art, Fleurdelys Antiquités, Marchant, Amir Mohtashemi Ltd, Jorge Welsh Oriental Porcelain & Works of Art

  • Exhibition Opening

    Gallery Concert: Classical Japanese Music Saturday, November 1, 2014

    • 18.30 – 20.30
    • Gregg Baker Asian Art 142 Kensington Church Street London W8 4BN
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7221 3533 Email info@japanesescreens.com
    • Admission free

    Performed by Keiko Kitamura (koto) and Michael Coxall (shakuhachi)

  • Private View

    Film Screening: The Kingdom and the Beauty (Cert. U) Sunday, November 2, 2014

    • 14.00 – 16.00
    • The British Museum Stevenson Lecture Theatre Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8181 Website www.britishmuseum.org
    • £3, concessions £2, booking essential

    Director: Han Hsiang Li, Hong Kong, 1959

  • Lecture

    Diplomacy and Global Trade: Chinese Porcelain in the Early Ming Dynasty Sunday, November 2, 2014

    • 15.30
    • Sotheby’s 34/35 New Bond Street, Mayfair London W1A 2AA
    • Helen Desmond Phone +44 (0)20 7293 6442 Email helen.desmond@sothebys.com
    • FULLY BOOKED

    by Li Baoping

  • Late Night Opening

    Late Night Opening in St James’s Sunday, November 2, 2014

    • 17.00 – 21.00
    • St James’s, off Piccadilly London SW1
    • Asian Art in London Phone +44 (0)20 7499 2215
    • Admission free

    Receptions will be held at: Aktis Gallery, Raquelle Azran Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art, Jan van Beers Oriental Art, Joost van den Bergh, Brandt Asian Art, Christie’s, Cohen & Cohen, Rob Dean Art, Fitzgerald Fine Arts, Forge & Lynch, Gibson Antiques, Michael Goedhuis, Grosvenor Gallery, Christophe Hioco, Ben Janssens Oriental Art, Antoine Lebel, Littleton & Hennessy, Meijering Art Books, One East Asia, Priestley & Ferraro, Simon Ray Indian & Islamic Works of Art, Röell Fine Art, Jacqueline Simcox, The Tolman Collection, London, Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art.

  • Lecture & Reception

    Cataloguing the East Asian Porcelains of Augustus the Strong – The Dresden Porcelain Project Sunday, November 2, 2014

    • 18.00 – 20.00
    • Christie’s 8 King Street, St James’s London SW1Y 6QT
    • Harriet McCann Phone +44 (0)20 7389 2858 Email rsvp@christies.com
    • Admission free, booking essential

    by Christiaan Jorg and Cora Wurmell

  • Short Course

    Arts of China from the Song to the Ming Monday, November 3, 2014 to Thursday, November 6, 2014

    • 10.00 – 17.00
    • SOAS University of London Thornhaugh Street Russell Square London WC1H 0XG
    • Denise Acford Phone +44 (0)20 7898 4451 Email da33@soas.ac.uk
    • £540

    This specialist art course will examine the arts of Song, Yuan and Ming China within their historical context.  Leading specialists will discuss paintings, ceramics, textiles, jades and metalwork through lectures, visits to museums and galleries and through a special tour of the British Museum exhibition Ming: 50 Years that Changed China.

  • Study Day

    Exploring Indian Textiles Monday, November 3, 2014

    by Jasleen Kandhari Explore the rich textile traditions of India from Punjab and Gujarat to Bengal and Rajasthan through lectures and handling session.

  • Exhibition Opening

    Exclusive Book Signing: Chinese and Japanese Porcelain for the Dutch Golden Age Monday, November 3, 2014

    • 16.00-20.00
    • Vanderven Oriental Art @ Shapero Rare Books 32 St George Street Mayfair London W1S 2EA
    • Admission free

    by Jan van Campen, Curator of Asian Export Art in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

  • Late Night Opening

    Late Night Opening in Mayfair Monday, November 3, 2014

    • 17.00 – 21.00
    • Mayfair London W1
    • Asian Art in London Phone +44 (0)20 7499 2215
    • Admission free

    Receptions will be held at: Albemarle Gallery, David Baker Oriental Art, Rosemary Bandini, Berwald Oriental Art, Bonhams, Prahlad Bubbar, Brun Fine Art, Dalton Somaré, Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, Duchange & Riché, Eskenazi Ltd, Sam Fogg, Francesca Galloway, Hanga Ten, Kaikodo, Lyon & Turnbull, Sydney L. Moss, Simon Pilling: East Asian Art & Interiors, Nicholas Pitcher Oriental Art, Sagemonoya, Shapero Rare Books, Sladmore Contemporary, Sotheby’s, A&J Speelman, Vanderven Oriental Art

  • Lecture

    The Annual Bonhams/OCS Lecture: People of the Ming Monday, November 3, 2014

    by Jessica Harrison-Hall Organisation: Bonhams and the Oriental Ceramic Society

  • Lecture

    Asian Art Market Monday, November 3, 2014

    • 18.00 – 20.00
    • Albemarle Gallery 49 Albemarle Street Mayfair London W1S 4JR
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7499 1616 Email info@albemarlegallery.com
    • Admission free, booking essential

    by Ian Robertson, Head of Art Business Studies, Sotheby’s Institute

  • Private View

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Monday, November 3, 2014

    • 18.30 – 20.30
    • Sotheby’s 34-35 New Bond Street Mayfair London W1A 2AA
    • RSVP to: party@sothebys.com
    • Admission is free, places limited, booking essential

    An evening preview and reception for the auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art taking place on Wednesday, 5 November.

  • Private View

    Book Launch: Custodians of the Scholar’s Way – Chinese Scholars’ Objects in Precious Woods Monday, November 3, 2014

    • 18.30 – 20.30
    • Sotheby’s 34-35 New Bond Street Mayfair London W1A 2AA
    • RSVP to Helen Desmond: helen.desmond@sothebys.com
    • Admission free, places limited, booking essential

    by Marcus Flacks Coinciding with the launch of his new book, a major new study titled Custodians of the Scholar’s Way – Chinese Scholars’ Objects in Precious Woods, Marcus Flacks continues his explorations into the great traditions of Chinese artisanal art.

  • Exhibition Opening

    Ghazaleh Avarzamani: Apology for Understanding Monday, November 3, 2014

    • 18.45 – 20.30 (exhibition continues until 14 November, Monday – Saturday 09.00 – 18.00)
    • Asia House 63 New Cavendish Street London W1G 7LP
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7307 5454 Email enquiries@asiahouse.co.uk Website www.asiahouse.org
    • Admission free

    Showcases the works of emerging Iranian artist Ghazaleh Avarzamani (b. 1980), who received her MA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, London. Her works have been exhibited in Iran, Dubai and London. The mutability and intricacy of language is explored and through different medium she aims to define the communicational codes we share beyond the barriers of language.

  • Gallery Lecture

    A Token from Hong Kong – Caveat Emptor Monday, November 3, 2014

    • 19.00
    • Lyon & Turnbull at Hakkasan 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair London W1J 6QB
    • Grace Browne Phone +44 (0)20 3159 5424 Email grace.browne@lyonandturnbull.com
    • Admission free

    Guest Speaker: Toby Bull, Senior Inspector of Police, Hong Kong Provides a brief introduction to art crime in Hong Kong, how it’s perceived by the public, media and law enforcement, before looking at case studies of art crime cases & potential pitfalls to be avoided. Illicit antiquity smuggling, fakes, as well as the subject of anti money laundering (AML) and the art sector will be discussed. Toby joined the then Royal HK Police in 1993 and is a certified expert in Art Authentication (forensics). An experienced lecturer on art crime, Toby has previously appeared at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, the World Congress of Forensics, also ARCA Interdisciplinary Art Crime & Cultural Heritage Protection conference.

  • Auction

    Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles Tuesday, November 4, 2014

    • 10.00 & 14.00
    • Christie’s South Kensington 85 Old Brompton Road South Kensington London SW7 3LD
    • Kate Hunt (Chinese Dept) Phone +44 (0)20 7752 3389 Email khunt@christies.com
  • Lecture

    Ming: Beyond Porcelain Tuesday, November 4, 2014

    by Dr Yu-ping Luk, Project Curator, British Museum This lecture explores the splendour of Ming China in the years AD 1400-1450 – the subject of this autumn’s The BP exhibition, Ming: 50 years that changed China at the British Museum (18 September 2014-5 January 2015).

  • Gallery Talk

    Form & Allusion: Japanese Lacquer Tuesday, November 4, 2014

    • 12.30 – 15.30
    • Simon Pilling: East Asian Art & Interiors 18 Maddox Street Mayfair London W1S 1PL
    • Simon Pilling Phone +44 (0)7946 577303 Email simon@simonpilling.co.uk
    • Admission free, places limited, booking essential

    by Wakamiya Takashi As part of Simon Pilling’s exhibition during this year’s Asian Art in London, there will be a talk and demonstration of Japanese lacquer craft by Wajima artist Wakamiya Takashi.  It will focus on design, techniques and the key role lacquer plays in Japanese culture.

  • Gallery Talk

    Chinese Bronzes and the Meaning of the Past Tuesday, November 4, 2014

    • 13.15 – 14.00
    • The British Museum Gallery 33 Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8299 Website www.britishmuseum.org
    • Admission free

    By Sascha Priewe

  • Lecture

    Asiatic Themes in Mamluk and Ottoman Tiles from Damascus (1400-1800) Tuesday, November 4, 2014

    • 14.30 – 15.30
    • Winter Olympia Art & Antiques Fair Olympia London W14 8UX
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7384 8148 Website www.olympia-antiques.com/asianart
    • Admission free, with valid ticket to Olympia fair

    by Arthur Millner

  • Private View

    Diaspora and Displacement In the presence of His Excellency Enrique A. Manalo Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s Tuesday, November 4, 2014

    • 18.00 Private View 19.00 Gallery Talk
    • One East Asia Gallery 8 8 Duke Street, St James’s London SW1Y 6BN
    • Viv Lawes Email viv.lawes@oneeastasia.org
    • Admission free, booking essential
  • Auction

    The Misumi Collection of Important Works of Lacquer Art and Paintings: Part I Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    • 10.30
    • Bonhams 101 New Bond Street Mayfair London W1S 1SR
    • Suzannah Yip Phone +44 (0)20 7468 8368 Email suzannah.yip@bonhams.com
  • Gallery Talk

    Refined Elegance: A Sloping-stile Cabinet Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    • 12.30
    • The Burrell Collection Pollok Country Park 2060 Pollokshaws Road Glasgow, G43 1AT
    • Phone +44 (0)141 287 2550 Website www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums
    • Admission free

    by Dr Yupin Chung, in cooperation with Thomas Jacobi As part of the Ming Furniture series, this talk explores one of the most beautiful designs of classical Chinese furniture.

  • Gallery Talk

    Prints and Paintings – Forty Years in Japan Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    • 12.30 – 13.30
    • Hanga Ten 18 Maddox Street Mayfair London W1S 1PL
    • Chiko Nara Phone +44 (0)7788 458 201 Email japaneseprints@hangaten.com
    • Admission free, places limited, booking essential

    by Daniel Kelly As part of Hanga Ten’s solo exhibition of Daniel Kelly, the Kyoto-based artist talks about his works and methodology.

  • Auction

    The Edward Wrangham Collection of Japanese Art: Part V Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    • 13.00
    • Bonhams 101 New Bond Street Mayfair London W1S 1SR
    • Suzannah Yip Phone +44 (0)20 7468 8368 Email suzannah.yip@bonhams.com
  • Gallery Talk

    Highlights of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Korean Collection Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    • 14.00
    • Victoria and Albert Museum Meeting Point: Grand Entrance Cromwell Road London SW7 2RL
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7942 2322 Website www.vam.ac.uk
    • Admission free

    by Rosalie Kim

  • Lecture

    Memorial Lecture for Sir Michael Butler Not Imperial, But Simply Beautiful Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    • 18.00 lecture, 19.00 drinks
    • The Society of Antiquaries Burlington House Piccadilly London W1J 0BE
    • Oriental Ceramic Society Phone +44 (0)1223 881328 Email  ocs.london@btinternet.com Website www.ocs-london.com
    • Admission free, booking essential

    by Dr Ni Yibin Organisation: Oriental Ceramic Society

  • Lecture

    From Benares to Boston: Ananda Coomaraswarmy as Collector and Curator by Dr Pratapaditya Pal Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    • 18.00
    • SOAS, University of London Russell Square London WC1H 0XG
    • Vesna Siljanovska Phone +44 (0)20 7898 4135 Email v.siljanovska@soas.ac.uk Website www.soas.ac.uk
    • Admission free, booking recommended

    by eminent Asian art scholar Dr Pratapaditya Pal

    A rare appearance by the world’s foremost specialist in the arts of India, the Himalayas and South East Asia.  Speaking during the prestigious international annual event, Asian Art in London, Dr Pal will examine the achievements of one of the greatest South Asian intellectuals of the 20th Century, Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy. This lecture will explore the pioneering work of the man who first brought Asian art to the US. Dr Pal, viewed by many as Coomaraswamy’s successor, has given Himalayan art global recognition through his pioneering research. His lecture is the second in a series at SOAS by world leading art specialists. The famous art historian Hiram W. Woodward gave a lecture in May this year, at the inaugural event of the Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme at SOAS, funded by a gift of £15 million to SOAS from the Alphawood Foundation. The SOAS Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme aims to create a step change in the understanding and preservation of Buddhist and Hindu art and architecture in Southeast Asia. The Programme will support up to 80 scholarships over the next five years, fund three new fully endowed academic posts at SOAS, and establish conferences, symposia and master-classes in both London and Southeast Asia.

  • Auction

    Fine Chinese Art The Roy Davids Collection of Chinese Ceramics Thursday, November 6, 2014

  • Auction

    Fine Japanese Art Thursday, November 6, 2014

    • 13.00
    • Bonhams 101 New Bond Street Mayfair London W1S 1SR
    • Suzannah Yip Phone +44 (0)20 7468 8368 Email suzannah.yip@bonhams.com
  • Gallery Talk

    Myths and Legends in Japanese Woodblock Prints Thursday, November 6, 2014

    • 13.00 – 13.45
    • Victoria and Albert Museum Meeting Point: Grand Entrance Cromwell Road London SW7 2RL
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7942 2200 Email s.gambrell@vam.ac.uk
    • Admission free

    by Xiaoxin Li Discover how artists in Edo Japan depicted the supernatural world with imagination and inspiration from real life.

  • Private View

    Film Screening and Poetry Reading: Gao Xingjian, renowned painter, playwright and filmmaker, presents his film Le Deuil de la Beaute, accompanied by verbal extracts from his poem Thursday, November 6, 2014

    • 18.00
    • Aktis Gallery 10-11 Park Place St James’s London SW1A 1LP
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7629 6531 Email info@aktis-gallery.co.uk
    • Admission free, places limited, booking essential
  • Gallery Talk

    Prints and Paintings – Forty Years in Japan Thursday, November 6, 2014

    • 18.45 – 19.45
    • Hanga Ten 18 Maddox Street Mayfair London W1S 1PL
    • Chiko Nara Phone +44 (0)7788 458 201 Email japaneseprints@hangaten.com
    • Admission free, places limited, booking essential

    by Daniel Kelly As part of Hanga Ten’s solo exhibition of Daniel Kelly, the Kyoto-based artist talks about his works and methodology.

  • Lecture

    The Annual Benjamin Zucker Lecture on Mughal Art by Dr George Michell Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi: Supremacy and Synthesis in the First Great Mughal Monument Thursday, November 6, 2014

    • 19.00 – 20.00, doors open 18.30 Exhibition Road; for wheelchair access please contact in advance
    • Victoria and Albert Museum The Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre (entrance) Exhibition Road London SW7 2RL
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7942 2244/2322 Website www.vam.ac.uk/whatson
    • Admission free
  • Exhibition

    New Art Now Friday, November 7, 2014 to Thursday, November 27, 2014

    • 10.00 – 18.00 daily
    • The Royal Over-Seas League Over-Seas House Park Place, St James’s Street London SW1A 1LR
    • Celia Washington Phone +44 (0)7789 351 144 Email air@kathmanduarts.org
    • Admission free

    Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre presents works by young contemporary Nepali artists. The exhibition opens with a guided tour on Friday 7th November at 13.00.

  • Auction

    Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles Friday, November 7, 2014

    • 10.00 & 14.00
    • Christie’s South Kensington 85 Old Brompton Road South Kensington London SW7 3LD
    • Kate Hunt (Chinese Dept) Phone +44 (0)20 7752 3389 Email khunt@christies.com
  • Study Day

    Contemporary Chinese Ink Painting Friday, November 7, 2014

    • 10.00 – 17.00, followed by reception
    • Sotheby’s Institute of Art 30 Bedford Square London WC1B 3EE
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7462 3239 Email l.archer@sothebysinstitute.com
    • £195 (£175 if booked by 1 Oct)

    This course reveals how tradition and transformation are keynotes to the development of this art form in China.

  • Lecture

    35th Annual Barlow Lecture Yongle to Zhengtong: Fifty Years that Changed Chinese Art? Friday, November 7, 2014

    by Prof. Craig Clunas

  • Lecture

    Music of the Zhihua Temple Friday, November 7, 2014

    • 18.30 – 20.00
    • The British Museum Room 33 Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8299 Website www.britishmuseum.org
    • Admission free, places limited

    Following a written introduction by Dr Stephen Jones, specialist in ritual music in north China, chosen extracts of shengguan music will be performed during the evening.

  • Lecture

    Recent Trends in the Chinese Art Market: New Challenges for the Collector Friday, November 7, 2014

    • 18.30 – 19.30
    • Museum of East Asian Art 12 Bennett Street Bath, BA1 2QJ
    • Phone +44 (0)1225 464640 Website www.meaa.org.uk
    • £5, students and Friends of MEAA £2.50; please call museum to book by 5 November

    by James Godfrey This lecture investigates opportunities still available to collectors and what to be aware of in this competitive market.

  • Private View

    Film screening: 14 Blades (Cert. 15) Saturday, November 8, 2014

    • 14.00 – 16.00
    • The British Museum Stevenson Lecture Theatre  Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG
    • Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8181 Website www.britishmuseum.org
    • £3, concessions £2, booking essential

    Director: Daniel Lee, China, 2010

List of Participants in Asian Art in London 2014

  • This is a list of participants in Asian Art in London 2014
    For more complete details, addresses and opening times you are referred to www.asianartinlondon.com
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    Dealer

    Aktis Gallery

    EXHIBITION

    Chinese Lyrical Abstraction in Paris: Works by Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh-Chun

  • Dealer

    Albemarle Gallery

    EXHIBITION

    Lee Jaehyo Mari Kim

  • Dealer

    AR PAB Álvaro Roquette / Pedro Aguiar-Branco

     EXHIBITION

    Mercator – Theatrum Mundi

  • Dealer

    Raquelle Azran Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art

    EXHIBITION

    Vietnam Vibes: Harmonies of Space and Time

  • Dealer

    David Baker Oriental Art Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    New Acquisitions

  • Dealer

    Gregg Baker Asian Art

    EXHIBITION

    Recent Acquisitions

  • Dealer

    Rosemary Bandini Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Japanese Netsuke from the Collection of Teddy Hahn

  • Dealer

    Jan van Beers Oriental Art

    EXHIBITION

    Recent Acquisitions

  • Dealer

    Joost van den Bergh

    EXHIBITION

    Indian Art from Mehrgahr to the 19th Century

    EXHIBITION

    Tantric Drawings by Acharya Vyakul & Badrinath Pandit

  • Dealer

    Berwald Oriental Art

    EXHIBITION

    Tang Ceramics and Works of Art

  • Auction House

    Bonhams

  • Auction House

    Bonhams Knightsbridge

  • Dealer

    Brandt Asian Art

    EXHIBITION

    Recent Acquisitions

  • Dealer

    Brun Fine Art

    EXHIBITION

    Chinese and Japanese Works of Art

  • Dealer

    Prahlad Bubbar

    EXHIBITION

    Indian Paintings: Masters of the Mughal and Rajput Courts

     

  • Auction House

    Christie’s

  • Auction House

    Christie’s South Kensington

  • Dealer

    Cohen & Cohen

    EXHIBITION

    Hit and Myth

  • Dealer

    Dalton Somaré

    EXHIBITION

    Recent Acquisitions

  • Dealer

    Rob Dean Art

    EXHIBITION

    Divine Inspiration: Indian Art, Classical and Modern

  • Auction House

    Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions

  • Dealer

    Duchange and Riché

    EXHIBITION

    Duchange & Riché

  • Dealer

    Eskenazi Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Chinese sculpture c.500-1500

    EXHIBITION

    Waterfalls, rocks and bamboo by Li Huayi

  • Dealer

    John Eskenazi Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Recent Acquisitions

  • Dealer

    Malcolm Fairley Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Japanese Works of Art    Recent Acquisitions

     

  • Dealer

    Fitzgerald Fine Arts

    EXHIBITION

    The Scholar and the Sentinel

  • Dealer

    Fleurdelys Antiquités

    EXHIBITION

    The Scholar’s Studio

  • Dealer

    Sam Fogg

    EXHIBITION

    Indian Paintings and Drawings from the 16th-19th centuries

  • Dealer

    Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Indian and Islamic Art

  • Dealer

    Francesca Galloway Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    New Acquisitions including Indian Paintings on Cloth

  • Dealer

    Gibson Antiques Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Oriental Ceramics and Works of Art

  • Dealer

    Michael Goedhuis

    EXHIBITION

    Yang Yanping: Lotus Heaven

  • Dealer

    Grosvenor Gallery

    EXHIBITION

    Abdur Rahman Chughtai

     

  • Dealer

    Hanga Ten

    EXHIBITION

    Daniel Kelly: Fish Out of Water Meet the Artist

  • Dealer

    Christophe Hioco

    EXHIBITION

    Arts of India, Himalayas and Vietnam

  • Dealer

    Ben Janssens Oriental Art Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Arts of the Chinese Craftsman

     

  • Dealer

    Kaikodo

    EXHIBITION

    Celebrating the Ming on Bond Street

  • Dealer

    Antoine Lebel

    EXHIBITION

    Latest Acquisitions

     

     

  • Dealer

    Littleton & Hennessy Asian Art

    EXHIBITION

    Chinese Ceramics

  • Auction House

    Lyon and Turnbull

  • Dealer

    Marchant

    EXHIBITION

    Blanc de Chine

  • Dealer

    Meijering Art Books

    EXHIBITION

    Chinese Art Books

  • Dealer

    Amir Mohtashemi Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Recent Acquisitions

     

  • Dealer

    Sydney L. Moss Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Obaku Zen Calligraphy and Painting from the 17th Century and Buddhist Related Netsuke, Lacquer and Applied Arts

  • Dealer

    One East Asia

    EXHIBITION

    Contemporary Art for Southeast Asia: Breaking and Reconstructing the Circle

  • Dealer

    Simon Pilling: East Asian Art & Interiors

    EXHIBITION

    Form & Allusion

  • Dealer

    Nicholas Pitcher Oriental Art Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Chinese Works of Art

  • Dealer

    Priestley & Ferraro

    EXHIBITION

    Song Ceramics and Works of Art

  • Dealer

    Simon Ray Indian & Islamic Works of Art

    EXHIBITION

    Indian and Islamic Works of Art

  • Dealer

    Röell Fine Art

    EXHIBITION

    From Distant Shores

  • Dealer

    Rossi & Rossi

    EXHIBITION

    Gallery under refurbishment, returning to Asian Art in London in 2015

     

  • Dealer

    Max Rutherston

    EXHIBITION

    Netsuke

  • Dealer

    Sagemonoya

    EXHIBITION

    Antique Netsuke and Sagemono

  • Dealer

    Shapero Rare Books

    EXHIBITION

    India on Paper

  • Dealer

    Jacqueline Simcox Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Chinese Textiles

     

  • Dealer

    Sladmore Contemporary

    EXHIBITION

    Roger Law  Ceramics from Jingdezhen

     

  • Auction House

    Sotheby’s

  • Dealer

    A&J Speelman

    EXHIBITION

    Recent Acquisitions

  • Dealer

    The Tolman Collection, London

    EXHIBITION

    Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints

  • Dealer

    Grace Tsumugi Fine Art Ltd

    EXHIBITION

    Recent Acquisitions

  • Dealer

    Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art

    EXHIBITION

    An Important Group of Sculptures from India, Southeast Asia and China

  • Dealer

    Vanderven Oriental Art

    EXHIBITION

    Vanderven Oriental @ Shapero Rare Books

  • Dealer

    Jorge Welsh Oriental Porcelain & Works of Art

    EXHIBITION

    Out of the Ordinary: Living with Chinese Export Porcelain

  • Auction House

    Woolley & Wallis

Bonhams Roy Davids Collection Sale vase highlights role of women in China

Next week, during Asian Art in London, auctioneers Bonhams mount no less than half a dozen sales in their New Bond Street and Knightsbridge premises, which puts them well ahead of the pack in the energy stakes.

Particularly interesting, in our view, is the 153-lot auction of the collection of Mr Roy Davids. Although the period over which he collected Chinese porcelain was not particularly long (the first items were acquired around the late 1990s and the final accessions in 2012).  The selective quality of the items in his collection cannot be doubted and they are particularly strong in the areas of famille verte, blue and white and Imperial yellow.

A fine porcelain vase showing the ‘Four Elegant Accomplishments’, important cultural activities suitable for Chinese scholar gentlemen, but most unusually seen here with women taking part in these activities, heads the sale of the Roy Davids Collection on November 7th.

This striking vase, lot 54, estimated to sell for £80,000-110,000, is a fine and rare famille verte baluster vase from the Kangxi period 1662 to 1722 with the body finely enamelled with a continuous scene of elegant court ladies engaged in the four activities – painting, calligraphy, playing the qin, a stringed musical instrument, and engrossed in weiqi, a board-game in which strategy is key.

Lot 54 - Roy Davids Collection

In later Imperial Chinese society, women were confined to the home and were not encouraged to be educated. During the late Ming dynasty, however, against a background of social change and economic prosperity, some women managed to challenge these conventions. The famous late Ming philosopher Li Zhi (1527-1602) even declared in his ironically titled Book to be Burned that women were equally intelligent as men and took female students, much to general surprise. Celebrity courtesans accomplished in the genteel arts of music and literature entered male society, heralding a new model of feminine identity almost equal to the male literatus. The present vase reflects this unusual emergence of accomplished females, and celebrates them as being knowledgeable and intellectually engaged, whilst still being refined, delicate and attractively feminine.

The women are exquisitely detailed, their delicate features offset by richly patterned robes and extravagant gilt jewellery, revealing their high cultural status and wealth. The scenes are also extraordinarily dynamic, with the tall figures filling the surface, and very actively involved in their chosen pursuits, whether dipping the brush in the ink for the next stroke of a half-finished painting, or reaching into a pot for another weiqi counter.

Roy Davids, a former Marketing Director for Sotheby’s, has an eye for a beautiful object, be it a superbly illustrated book or a striking Chinese vase. He bought both at auction and from dealers like Marchant.

The vase has been widely exhibited, including a show in a show at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and was on loan to the Denver Museum of Art from 1995 to 2005.

Colin Sheaf, International Head of Asian Art at Bonhams, says: “Roy is a shrewd judge of excellence and this Chinese porcelain Collection is another endorsement of his taste. The works mostly cover a period of 300 years during which Chinese ceramics led the world in sophistication of design and decoration. Doubtless the vast majority will be snapped up by Chinese buyers keen to repatriate their national cultural heritage.”

 

Asian Art in London publishes 2014 Guide

Asian Art in London, which takes place from October 30 to November 8 this year, has published its guide to all the 2014 events. The pocket/handbag sized guide is bigger – that is to say, thicker – than ever before as the event, now in its 17th year, continues on a course of expansion.

Most users will, we suspect, find the printed guide most useful as they tramp the streets of London in search of the multiplicity of events. However, for the technologically inclined there is also an App available from the website www.asianartinlondon.com. If you want to get hold of the printed guide you can either telephone 0207499 2215 or email info@asianartinlondon.com.

As usual, there is a packed programme of events: special lectures, prestige auctions and events in galleries private and public. The champagne reception takes place on the evening of Thursday October 30 at the British Museum and the cost of the £60 ticket is somewhat defrayed by free entry to the much vaunted BM exhibition Ming: 50 Years that Changed China.

We shall highlight some of the events in future postings.