Rosebery’s offer rare Guangxu lime green bowl

London auctioneers Rosebery’s ( are preparing for their December 2 sale which features a number of interesting Chinese lots.

Chinese ceramics from the 12th-20th century populate much of this December’s Asian art sale with particular highlights being a rare porcelain monochrome lime green bowl with Emperor Guangxu’s reign mark to the base, and a superb Yuan Dynasty Junyao ware purple splash censer from the Jun kilns.

lime green bowl roseberys

The lime green bowl is highly unusual and particularly interesting in our view. This rare Chinese porcelain monochrome lime green bowl, with a Guangxu mark and of the period, is of ogee form, glazed to the interior with turquoise, with straight foot rim,  and underglaze blue six character Guangxu mark to base, It is16cm diameter, and 8cm high.

Condition is said to be very good with no chips or cracks. There is a small flaw to the rim, underneath the glaze. On the inside of the bowl there is a patch on the glaze which has ‘bubbled’ slightly. Otherwise, condition is very good.

Rosebery’s say that the demand for Chinese scholar’s objects is ever increasing and on offer in this sale are a great variety of brush pots in ivory, porcelain, bronze and bamboo, jade brushwashers and brush rests, and a number of finely executed Chinese scroll paintings.


Record claimed for cinnabar lacquer box sold at Rosebery’s

Roseberys’ 10 December 10 fine art auction saw a rare and impressive 18th century cinnabar lacquer quatrefoil box and cover sell for £30,600.

Chinese Red Cinnabar Lacquer Box and Cover

Roseberys Asian Art specialist Peter Greenway said: “We knew the quality of the materials and high level of craftsmanship used to create this stunning example would suggest that it was created for an Emperor, but the price achieved for this piece confirms [sic,] it must have been made for the Imperial court. It is extremely rare to see a piece of cinnabar of this size and quality from the Qinglong period, and the realised price exceeded any other UK record that we are aware of.”

The highly decorative box measures 27.2cm diameter and is decorated on the lid with figures in a landscape, seated and on looking figures all enclosed within floral panels. The base panels are decorated with deer, herons and other auspicious animals, all enclosed within continuous geometric pattern.  Inside the box a gold four character mark read “Precious Music Box” and on the base it had a six character Qinglong mark. 

Sent for sale from a Dorset manor house the box had been unseen since the 1920s and had remained the property of a family with strong diplomatic connections. Four telephone lines and strong absentee bidding saw the box ultimately sell on the telephone to an oversees buyer.

From the same manor house an extremely rare cloisonné hat box with zitan hardwood stand and cover sold to a different international buyer for £20,400 (it had been anticipated before the sale that it would, in fact, be the headline item). Beautifully decorated and an attractive example of some exceptional cloisonné work, the box is decorated with a central flower enclosed within bands of stylised scrolling foliage, bats and clouds. As with many other examples of Chinese artwork from the period bats are included to symbolise happiness, joy and good fortune, and the clouds are an auspicious symbol meaning longevity in good fortune.


Imperial cloisonne treasure from Dorset manor house leads at Rosebery’s

Rosebery’s December sale of Fine Art will include what is believed to be a very unusual 18th century Imperial cloisonné enamel hat box.

chinese cloisonne hat box

From a Dorset manor house, the item has been in a family with strong diplomatic connections since the 1920s. The box was originally made during the 18th century, known as being the most prolific period for cloisonné production in China. Crafted through a process of firing glass to create vitreous enamel which is placed within a wire framework, the object is then fired again in a kiln to produce the finished cloisonné piece.

This opulent example is decorated with a central flower enclosed within bands of stylised scrolling foliage, bats and clouds. As with many other examples of Chinese artwork from the period, bats are included to symbolise happiness, joy and good fortune, and the clouds are an auspicious symbol meaning longevity in good fortune. The wooden frame for the box is thought to be constructed from zitan, an extremely rare red sandalwood derived from a slow growing tree which makes it a sought after commodity for furniture.

the auctioneers believe that this item must have Imperial provenance. Rosebery’s Asian Art specialist Peter Greenway said yesterday: “The quality of the materials used in crafting this box would suggest that it is was created for the Forbidden City. The cloisonné itself is made to such a high standard that I would imagine whoever made it would have had to make and reject a number of panels before they had a finished piece that was good enough to be sent to the Emperor or his court. The superiority of the materials used, and the time taken to produce it, would suggest that nobody in 18th century China would have been able to afford it outside the Imperial palace.”

This stunning box, Lot 1578, carries an estimate of £15,000 – 20,000.

From the same private UK collection is a rare Chinese red cinnabar lacquer quatrefoil music box and cover, and also from the 18th century. The common ore of mercury, cinnabar is most popularly known for its use in Chinese lacquerware, the process of carving art from layered lacquer. Initially popular during the Song Dynasty, it was used widely throughout Asian countries including China, Japan and Korea.

Chinese Red Cinnabar Lacquer Box and Cover

The lacquer is produced from the resin of the rhus verniciflua trees found in southern China. Recognised by its striking red colour, which intensifies during the layering process, this deeply carved box is decorated with figures in a landscape and animals including deer and herons. Inside is a gold four character Chinese mark which translates to “Precious Music Box”. A rare and interesting piece the box is estimated to sell for £10,000 – 15,000.

Held at Roseberys saleroom in south London on December10, the sale will be on show prior to the auction on Friday 5 – Monday 8 December