Here is our pick of Asian Art in London at 20

We spent four days seeing as much as we could of the 20th year of Asian Art in London, a veritable panoply of wonderful things on display and many on offer. Here are our favorite objects and exhibits, in no particular order.

20171109_160458 Eskenazi Limestone Hands being a portion of a much larger funerary piece and curiously modern in its appearance. Northern Qi period 550-575. Xiangtangshan Cave Temples. From Eskenazi’s exhibition of Six Dynasties Art from the Norman A Kurland Collection.  Photo Paul Harris

20171109_160633 Eskenazi Two Caparisoned Horses From the same outstanding exhibition, two painted earthenware horses, Northern Qi. Photo Paul Harris

20171109_160903 Eskenazi  Two Figures Earthenware Northern Wei period (early 8th century). As with all the Eskenazi exhibits, superb lighting which made photography a delight! Photo Paul Harris

20171110_105831Marchant  Kangxi Famille Verte Within their Kensington Church Street premises old-established dealers Marchant held a breathtaking exhibition of Kangxi famille verte pieces put together by them from stock items dating back more than a decade and including several bearing the provenance of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. A great show.  Photo Paul Harris

20171109_155703 Ben Janssens  Their lease at an end in their Jermyn Street premises, Ben Janssens put on his show, as usual marked by the exquisite small objects on display, in temporary space in Old Bond Street. We particularly liked the exhibit in the foreground Group of Black Pottery Horses, Figures and a Carriage (Yuan Dynasty 1279-1368).  Photo Paul Harris

20171109_162345 Berwald Our attention was grabbed by this evocative rendering of a Silk Road mercant and his camel. Tang Dynasty. Photo Paul Harris

20171110_161203 Cohen & Cohen showed their usual large selection of Chinese export pieces, this time in the capacious premises of Colnaghis in St James’s which served to show off the exhibits at their best. Probably the most eyecatching was a pair of wall sconces, design attributed to Cornelius Pronck (1736-40) and entitled The Flamethrower. If you need to ask the price, you can’t afford it . . . offers please in the region of £280,000 for these exquisite pieces.   Photo Paul Harris

20171109_132648East Meets West Exhibition at The Design Centre in Chelsea concentrating on the work of contemporary young Japanese and Chinese artists. Centre, The Winter at Lianghe Village (2011) a woodcut  by Yu Chengyou.  Photo Paul Harris

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Jade exhibition marks ninety years in business for Marchant . . . and still going strong

Marchant jade 3This year, London Chinese art dealers Marchant are celebrating 90 years in business, having started up back in 1925. Despite the passage of the years, it is still very much a family business, four generations on. And so, coinciding with Asian Art in London (November 5-14), they have just announced a major selling exhibition of some very fine jade pieces.

Apparently, there will be some 90 pieces in the exhibition, and the accompanying book, comprising animals, pendants, vessels, bracelets, buckles, snuff bottles and objects for the scholar’s desk. Several are Imperial pieces and four have Imperial marks.

On the front cover of the associated book is the Hodgson Rhyton, one of the most important jades Marchant has ever handled. It was exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1975 in their important landmark exhibition Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages. Published alongside the piece is related correspondence from Sir Harry Garner, academic and author of many publications on Chinese art.

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The Hodgson Rhyton sold by Marchants to The Victoria & Albert

Jades in the exhibition date from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) to the Qing but the majority are Qianlong (1736-95). Of particular interest, from the collection of the Marquis and Marquise de Ganay, is the water buffalo with a boy seated on its back. There is also a pair of white jade cups with their original stands in the form of lotus petals, dated from the 18th century. They come from an important Swiss collection purchased by Marchant in the 1950s.

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A pair of white jade cups from an important Swiss collection

The exhibition takes place from November 3-20 at 120 Kensington Church Street. The book available at the exhibition costs £80.

Fourth time around for blanc de chine at Marchant’s

Showing at their Kensington Church Street gallery, is Marchant’s selling exhibition of blanc de chine . . . and not for the first time. This is Marchant’s (founded 1925) fourth exhibition of the same name, previous exhibitions having been held in 1985, 1994 and 2006. The current exhibition, which started in time for Asian Art in London, runs until November 28

Almost ten years in the planning, visiting collectors and travelling the world, the extensive exhibition contains 132 pieces of Ming and Qing blanc de chine figures and vessels, mainly from private European collections.  Twenty-eight of these pieces come from the collection of Captain J. Meuldijk, The Netherlands, including the remarkable He Chaozong Guanyin, no. 1 which is in the £80 catalogue and also illustrated on the back cover. They also have three other examples by this famous potter, who is highly regarded in China. The superb Damo no. 11, also from the Meuldijk Collection, is on the front cover.

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The He Chaozong Guanyin (Catalogue No.1) 23cm. high, three-character seal mark impressed on the back  For sale at £180,000

Museums, collectors and dealers have long been fascinated and intrigued by the wonderful porcelain produced at Dehua in Fujian Province, China. From the late Ming Dynasty, the rich thick cream glaze and sculpted figures and vessels have been eagerly sought. Precise dating is difficult, as in most cases reign marks are absent. Dating pieces from unearthed tombs has been a great help, as has the identification of seal marks impressed in the back of figures or the base of vessels.

Provenance is always regarded as a key factor at Marchant’s. Marchant believe knowing the names of previous owners, be they dealers or collectors, is an essential part of their history, and, of course, a guide to authenticity.

Further information on the website, www.marchantasianart.com.