Four sales of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on 26-27 May at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery followed spectacular Spring Sale results in April to achieve HK$121.3 million / US$15.6 million.
The highlight of the sales series was Playthings from the Collection of Edward T. Chow, a single-owner collection of exquisite scholar’s objects an imperial works of art which achieved a grand total of HK$39 million / US$5 million including outstanding results for white jade and jadeite. We were also pleased with the success of Chinese Art through the eye of Sakamoto Goro - Asian Lacquer, which attracted particularly strong interest in Korean mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquer. Snuff Bottles From The Mary And George Bloch Collection: Part VIII drew bids from a buoyant crowd of collectors from all over the world; every lot was sold.
Playthings From The Collection of Edward T. Chow - 10AM
“On a huge velvet-covered table, expert hands would set out box after box, each with its characteristic orange-red cloth covering. From these boxes, opened with the utmost care, would arise the most marvelous of pieces, for the eyes of connoisseurs only.” These were the words chosen by the Parisian dealer, Michel Beurdeley, to describe a visit to the Happy Valley home of Edward T. Chow in his foreword to the series of sales held by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong and London in 1980 and 1981. Sotheby’s is privileged to offer a similar experience this May, enabling connoisseurs to relish a group of playthings from this legendary collector, bequeathed to his descendants and kept since then in the family.
Playthings, or yiwan as they are commonly named by Chinese collectors, pertain to a specific category of objects, usually of small proportion, intended to ornate the scholar desk or simply be enjoyed for their visual or tactile quality.
Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Collections - 2PM
In the last 40 years in Asia, Sotheby’s has facilitated the formation of collections, not only in Hong Kong, but throughout the region. Some developed in size, others remained more modest, but all were assembled with curiosity and passion, reflecting the personality of the collectors who built them. The present sale focuses on these small group collections, purposely keeping together objects that have been cherished over the years, providing a greater appreciation of the original aesthetic spirit. This season includes selections of 18th and 19th-century Imperial porcelains from a private collection formed over a period of 30 years, a private collection of works of art and scholarly objects, a group of ceramics and works of art acquired by the present owner’s father in Sotheby’s Hong Kong salerooms during the mid to late 1980s, highlighted by a selection of ceramics from the Baoyizhai Collection.
Chinese Art Through the Eye of Sakamoto Gorō - Asian Lacquer - 6PM
While fine Asian lacquer has always been highly valued around the world, nowhere has it been collected with such passion as in Japan. This is particularly demonstrated by this second selection of lacquers from the collection of Gorō Sakamoto which, in addition to rare and interesting lacquer wares from China, also includes fine examples from other Asian civilisations. Notable highlights include an ensemble of cinnabar and black lacquer wares from the Ryukyu islands, arguably the finest group to emerge on the market in recent years, as well as important examples of Korean lacquer, including two mother-of-pearl inlaid letter boxes from the early Choson dynasty only matched in quality by their equivalents in the holdings of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and British Museum, London.
Sotheby's Hong Kong Gallery, 5/F One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong