Nicolas ChowChairman Asia | Worldwide Head and Chairman of Chinese Works of Art
The Yin Xue Tang collection of Chinese art was assembled over the last twenty years, away from the limelight, and represents the pinnacle of classical aesthetics in Chinese art. The collection is the work of an aesthete whose astute eye embraces Chinese art in all its many guises, whether ancient Buddhist sculpture, understated Song ceramics, exquisite Imperial porcelain, lacquer from all periods or historical works of art. An extraordinary sensibility for form, transcending time, medium or purpose, permeates the group and seamlessly flows from the generous, deep arched groove of an early 15th century guri lacquer, down the weathered, cracked cheek of a 13th century bodhisattva, to the elegant contraction of the body of a 12th century stoneware vase, to the drama and chaos of an ancient lingbi rock. Every object unlocks aesthetic possibilities and inspires fascination over the life and mind of the artist who produced it and the worshipper, aesthete or emperor who caressed it. The piece-de-resistance in the first part of the collection that we are offering this season is the extraordinary set of thumbrings so intimately entertwined with Emperor Qianlong’s life, passion for his Manchu heritage and enduring quest for political legitimacy, which offers a unique perspective into the mind of one of the most powerful men to have ever walked the earth.