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Chinese Works of Art

Grace Wu Launches New Ming Furniture Book in London

Earlier this week, Grace Wu, the world’s leading expert on Ming furniture, launched her new book, The Best of The Best: The MQJ Collection of Ming Furniture, at Sotheby’s New Bond Street.

The book is dedicated to her private collection, which is possibly the greatest collection of Ming furniture in private hands. Shortened from The Muquju Collection, meaning ‘Lodge of Wood Delights’, the MQJ collection is a distilled product of 30 years of tireless collecting and continual refinement.

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THE BEST OF THE BEST: THE MQJ COLLECTION OF MING FURNITURE EXHIBITION, HONG KONG, OCTOBER 2017

Comprising over 100 pieces of museum-quality Ming furniture, the collection was recently exhibited by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong – the first time to be shown in its entirety – where it met with great acclaim and attracted visitors in their thousands.

A well-researched catalogue of the MQJ Collection, the bilingual book documents each item of furniture by section, with succinct notes, provenance information and beautiful imagery.

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GRACE WU SIGNS COPIES OF HER NEW BOOK AT SOTHEBY'S NEW BOND STREET

Formed over the past 30 years and little known to the public, the MQJ Collection represents the pinnacle of art and workmanship of Ming furniture.  It comprises more than 100 pieces (sets) of Ming furniture of all major types made of huanghuali and zitan wood. The collection spans eleven categories, from tables and chairs to incense stands and beds, all beautifully designed, superbly crafted and in excellent condition, with many rare examples, some unique.

For a long time, Ming furniture remained a neglected field until Mr. Wang Shixiang, renowned Chinese scholar and Palace Museum specialist, hailed the ‘Father of Chinese Furniture’, published his book Classic Chinese Furniture in 1985. The publication brought to light the beauty and magnificence of Chinese furniture design and workmanship, sparking an immense amount of interest in Ming furniture and leading to an influx of quality works onto the market. Most pieces from the MQJ Collection were acquired during this ‘golden age’ of Ming furniture collecting in the 1980s and 1990s, a feat that would be impossible to repeat today. 

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THE BEST OF THE BEST: THE MQJ COLLECTION OF MING FURNITURE BY GRACE WU

Grace Wu played a pivotal role in the renaissance of Ming furniture. In 1987, she turned her collecting passion into a life-long career by opening her first gallery in Hong Kong. Since then she cemented her reputation as a leading expert in Chinese furniture, known affectionately as the ‘Queen of Huanghuali,’ and developed an astute sense of quality through the sheer quantity of pieces she handled. In the mid-1990s, Grace developed the vision of building a sizable and representative repository of Ming furniture. Under the patronage of her mentor Mr. Wang Shixiang, Grace eventually formed her own extensive collection to be passed on to future generations, which led to the birth of the MQJ Collection, quintessential in its content and with an unrivalled depth and quality.

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The London book launch took place at Sotheby’s New Bond Street in the same week as the Important Chinese Art sale and the inaugural Chinese Art St George Street Sale in London.

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THE BEST OF THE BEST: THE MQJ COLLECTION OF MING FURNITURE EXHIBITION, HONG KONG, OCTOBER 2017

On 11 December 2017 Grace Wu will be sharing her knowledge and insight with a series of fascinating talks at the V&A Museum (10.30–16.30): The Twentieth Century Revival of Ming Furniture; Inside the Elegant Mansion- hardwood furniture of Ming dynasty China; and Amazing Ming- examples of Chinese classical furniture from the MQJ collection.  For more details, please visit vam.ac.uk/courses or call +44 20 7942 2000.

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