Magnificent Works of Asian Art

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Launch Slideshow

Sotheby's will hold three Asian Art sales in Paris on 12 June - Arts d'AsieFine Chinese paintings, calligraphy and rubbings from a German private collection and A Magnificent Imperial ‘Yangcai Crane and Deer Ruyi Vase’. This year, the sales include one lot with a particularly spectacular story: the long-forgotten Ruyi vase.  Click ahead to view this and more of the highlights.
 
Arts d'Asie
12 June 2018 | Paris

Fine Chinese Paintings, Calligraphy And Rubbings From A German Private Collection
12 June 2018 | Paris

A Magnificent Imperial ‘Yangcai Crane And Deer Ruyi Vase’
12 June 2018 | Paris

Magnificent Works of Asian Art

  • A fine and magnificent Imperial 'Yangcai Crane-and-Deer Ruyi Vase', six-character iron-red Qianlong seal mark and period.
    Estimate: €500,000–700,000.
    The wonderful vase offered in this sale was discovered accidentally in the attic of a house in the French countryside where it had been long forgotten. It had been left to the great-grandparents of the present owners by an uncle and appears among the listed contents of his Paris apartment after he passed away in 1947.

    A Magnificent Imperial ‘Yangcai Crane And Deer Ruyi Vase’
    12 June 2018 | Paris
  • A rubbing of the Taishan Twenty-Nine Character Stele.
    Estimate: €500,000–700,000.

    This rubbing of an inscription from a stele at Mount Tai in Shandong province commemorates Qin Shi Huangdi (259 BC – 207 BC), the first emperor of China, and some of his achievements. The inscription and calligraphy are written by Li Si (ca. 280-208 BC), senior advisor to Qin Shi Huangdi, who played a key role in unifying the writing system throughout China, resulting in the standardised Chinese script known as the Small Seal Script. Originally comprising 200 characters, the stele was only discovered  in the Ming dynasty before it was destroyed in the 18th century. Today only two fragments of this stele with nine characters survive. It is extremely rare to find a rubbing of the Taishan stele with twenty-nine characters: only a handful are known today.

    Fine Chinese Paintings, Calligraphy And Rubbings From A German Private Collection
    12 June 2018 | Paris
  • Ke Jiusi (1290-1343), Bamboo.
    Estimate: €600,000–800,000.

    This dramatically cropped image of bamboo reveals neither the plant's base nor its tip; rather, the leaves and branches seem to defy gravity, giving the pendent bough a sense of dynamic movement and growth. The artists uses both bold and delicate brush strokes and contrasting ink tones that define the leaves and add to the vitality of the image. Ke Jiusi, a leading connoisseur and curator of the imperial art collection under the Yuan emperor Wenzong (ruled 1304-1332), demonstrates in this work his scholarly approach to the study of antique models by freely copying  and naturalising a work by the Northern Song master Wen Tong (1019–1079), the patriarch of the monochrome bamboo genre.

    Fine Chinese Paintings, Calligraphy And Rubbings From A German Private Collection
    12 June 2018 | Paris

  • A rare and superbly carved zitan 'dragon' cabinet, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period.
    Estimate: €120,000–150,000.
    Constructed with thick panels made entirely from zitan wood, this large cabinet has two front doors, with gilt-bronze plates decorated with dragons among clouds and waves. The doorpulls, on the other hand, are decorated in low relief with bats and chimes. The two doors are deeply carved in relief with dragons writhing among scrolling clouds, all above various treasures further surrounded by waves and rugged rocks. The entire composition symbolises the emperor’s rule of the lands and oceans. Such imagery was historically popular among, and exclusive to, members of the imperial family, thus placing the present cabinet in the highest class of Chinese furniture.

    Arts d'Asie
    12 June 2018 | Paris
  • A large blue and white 'bajixiang' moonflask, Qianlong seal mark and period.
    Estimate: €200,000–300,000.
    Moonflasks of this design and large size are rare. A challenging shape to fire without leaning to one side, the present flask is almost perfectly straight. Its shape follows an early Ming type which in itself was inspired by middle-eastern metalware. The design - lotus petals radiating from a central rosette adorning either side of the flask - is also inspired by more stylised geometric star-shaped medallions centred on a yin-yang symbol, with curved bands and pointed tips vaguely reminiscent of leaves and petals.

    Arts d'Asie
    12 June 2018 | Paris
  • A rare Famille Verte 'flowers and birds' jardiniere, Kangxi mark and period.
    Estimate: €15,000–20,000.
    The present piece is striking for its delicately painted motif of birds and flowering trees in the Famille Verte palette and belongs to a distinct group of sturdily potted Kangxi mark and period jardinières of hexagonal form. Peter Y.K. Lam suggests that these jardinières were produced in the latter years of the Kangxi reign, possibly commissioned for the Emperor’s 70th birthday, which would have occurred in 1723.

    Arts d'Asie
    12 June 2018 | Paris
  • An important polychrome stucco figure of Guanyin, Ming Dynasty, 15th century. Estimate: €200,000–300,000.
    This polychrome stucco figure of Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion, also known as the Goddess of Mercy in the West, is from a private Belgian Collection.

    Arts d'Asie
    12 June 2018 | Paris
  • Qi Baishi (1864-1957), Reeds. Estimate: €40,000–60,000.
    This painting by Qi Baishi belonged to Prof. Otto Fischer (1886-1946), director of the Kunstmuseum Basel from 1927-1938. Fischer, a renowned art historian who in 1912 wrote his thesis on Chinese paintings, discovered the works of Qi Baishi on a visit to Beijing in 1926 and was subsequently one of the first to exhibit the artist in Europe. For many years this particular painting hung in his office in the Kunstmuseum, Basel.

    Arts d'Asie
    12 June 2018 | Paris
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