Is half a loaf really better than no loaf at all? This conundrum is brought to mind by a Chinese wucai porcelain vase which is coming up for sale at Tennants (Leyburn, Yorkshire) during their two day Spring Fine Art Sale (March 20/21).
The vase is old, no doubt, and it is suggested it is ‘probably Wanli period’. Of square section, baluster form with mask handles, moulded and painted with dragons, It even boasts a fitted stand. Lot 71 has, nevertheless, been cut down at some point in a doubtless troubled history.
To us, it looks distinctly odd. Aesthetically, it has lost all form and balance and is so obviously cut down that is positively unsettling just to look at! That having been said, it is estimated at £1,500-2,000 and doubtless somebody, somewhere will buy it. And quite possibly for rather more than the estimate.
There are approximately 60 Chinese lots in the sale. We have chosen a reticulated famille noire vase (Lot 102) as our current Object of Desire. The highest estimate for a Chinese lot in the sale is for Lot number 889: an unusual Chinese Imperial polychrome decorated Incense Stand thought to emanate from Shaanxi Province, probably 15th/16th century. The catalogue describes its ‘square top above a red lacquered pierced frieze, raised on cabriole legs with red lacquered pierced spandrels and raised on a later ebonised square base, 60cm by 60cm by 85cm.’ The bibliographic reference ‘See Edwards (Curtis) Traditional Chinese Furniture p.198′ is supplied. It is estimated at £8,000-12,000.
Tennants Lot 889 Imperial decorated Incense Stand