A Treasure Trove of Asian Art

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Launch Slideshow

The upcoming Asian Art and Early Chinese Jade and Hardstone Carvings sales in Paris follow the hugely successful June sale that confirmed Paris as an important venue and selling location for Asian art in Europe. Most of the jade and hardstone carvings offered in the upcoming auction come from the collection of Professor Max Loehr, one of the most pre-eminent Western scholars of early Chinese art.

Ahead of the sales there will be an opportunity to view highlights at Sotheby's in Paris from 10 to 14 December 2016. Click ahead to see highlights.

Asian Art
15 December | Paris

Early Chinese Jade and Hardstone Carvings Including The Collection Of Max Loehr
15 December | Paris

A Treasure Trove of Asian Art

  • A magnificent large bronze figure of Wenchang Wang, Ming Dynasty, 16th/17th century. Estimate €450,000–550,000.
    Notable for its impressive size and considerable weight, this figure may be identified as Wenchang Wang, also known as Wenchang dijun , the Daoist god of Culture and Literature and one of the most important deities in the Daoist canon. More commonly depicted holding a ruyi-sceptre, he is represented here holding a tablet and has a motif on his head resembling a crown decorated with a three-peaked mountain flanked by the sun and moon that indicates his important position in the Daoist canon.



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  • A rare ensemble of three gilt-bronze figures of Buddha comprising Bhaishajyaguru, Vairocana and Amitabha, Ming Dynasty, 15th century. Estimate €200,000–300,000.
    These three finely modelled gilt-bronzes figures representing the three Buddhas Vairocana, Amitabha and Bhaishajyaguru were made in the mid-fifteenth century style following the sculptural tradition of the Yongle and Xuande periods.



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  • An important carved polychrome lacquer box and cover, Qing Dynasty, Late Qianlong/Jiaqing period, with contemporaneous gold mounts and dedication. Estimate €150,000–250,000.
    Beautifully carved with lotus flowers and finely mounted in gold, an inscribed plaque on the inside cover hints at this box’s illustrious provenance and history, informing us that ‘this snuff box was part of the gifts sent by the Emperor of China to his Royal Highness, the Emperor Napoleon at St. Helena, and served him until his death, hence given by the Count de Montholon to the Count Balbi de Piovera’.



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  • A fine and rare archaistic white jade censer and cover, fang ding, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period. Estimate €120,000–150,000.
    Its form and design are inspired by archaic bronze fang ding made during the late Shang and Western Zhou dynasties. The archaistic style, which emerged during the Yongzheng period and flourished under the Qianlong Emperor, heavily influenced many arts of his reign, but was most evident in porcelains and jades. Jade carvers working for the Imperial court during the Qianlong period were skilled at adapting styles and this fine white jade censer is a fine example of their interpretation of ancient forms to suit contemporary taste.



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  • A rare imperial green jade archaistic beaker vase, gu, incised six-character Qianlong mark and period. Estimate €80,000–120,000.
    The form and decoration of this green jade vessel successfully combine an archaic bronze form with contemporary style reflecting the emperor Qianlong's fascination with the past. The vase is carved of a large single piece of jade of unusually uniform colour. The elongated form with its long flared neck and wide central bulb must have been extremely challenging to work with. The Imperial mark on the base of the vessel indicates that it was made for the Qianlong emperor.



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  • A rare jade hoof-shaped ornament, Neolithic period, Hongshan culture, ca. 3500 BC. Estimate €50,000–70,000.
    Headpieces or ornaments of this type were recovered from archaeological sites associated with the Neolithic Hongshan culture in north-eastern China. Several headpieces of this particular shape and size are known to be in private collections shaped in the first half of the 20th century.



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  • An important large dark green jade ceremonial knife-shaped blade, Neolithic period, ca. 2000-1200 BC. Estimate €80,000–120,000.
    The present blade is remarkable for its size and the extreme thinness of the blade. Carved from a very dark green, almost black jade and with a carefully bevelled cutting edge, its use was purely ceremonial.  



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  • A rare small grey and black jade figure of a recumbent buffalo, Shang to Western Zhou Dynasty, ca. 1100-950 BC. Estimate €12,000–15,000.
    Small animal-shaped pendants or ornaments form a major category of jades in the Shang period. Among them small carvings of bovines are rare. This example is notable for its elaborate and three-dimensional carving.



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  • A rare jade notched disc, xuanji, Neolithic period to Shang Dynasty, ca. 2000-1500 BC. Estimate €15,000–25,000.
    Discs feature prominently among jade artefacts recovered from sites of the Neolithic Period to the Han dynasty. Among them, notched discs such as this one , form a small but distinctive group. Defined by the deep notches that divide the circumference into segments, the earliest examples have been found in late Neolithic sites in eastern and western China. 



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  • A rare small yellow jade figure of a seated mythical beast, Song Dynasty or earlier. Estimate €100,000–150,000.
    This carving of a winged mythical creature resembling a bear seems to have a connection with the mythical winged creatures of the spirit world inhabiting the traditions of jade and stone carvings of the Han and subsequent Six Dynasties period. From at least the Han dynasty, jade was firmly associated with immortality and was connected with beliefs in spirits, omens and immortals. Winged creatures of animal and human form inhabited the universe of the Han and Six Dynasties period, and were an integral part of the decorative repertory of the period.



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