On 5 November, Christie’s Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction will present 227 lots spanning three millennia of Chinese art from the Shang Dynasty to the Republic period. The sale features private collections of archaic bronzes, jade carvings, cloisonné enamel works of art, paintings, Song ceramics and imperial Ming and Qing dynasty porcelain from the UK, Europe and Asia. The auction will be complemented by an online sale of The van Daalen Collection of Chinese Art, which offers over 100 lots from the Estate of Albert and Leonie van Daalen, Geneva, Switzerland, and showcases the breadth of their collecting tastes from Song Dynasty Chinese ceramics to Ming and Qing dynasty blue and white, coloured enamelled porcelain and cinnabar lacquer works of art. Works will be on view and open to the public from 1 to 4 November, coinciding with Asian Art in London.
Headlining the auction is a magnificent Imperial gilt-bronze bell, bianzhong, dated to the eighth year of the Qianlong reign, 1743, from an Important European Collection (estimate £800,000 – 1,200,000, illustrated centre). These finely cast bells were essential in conducting Confucian rituals at the Imperial altars and other state ceremonies, including ascension ceremonies when a new emperor took the throne, formal banquets and other court assemblies, and during processions of the Imperial Guard. The Qianlong Emperor is regarded as one of the most prolific of all the Chinese Imperial collectors, and it is perhaps fitting that it was once in the impressive and eclectic collection of the famous American businessman William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), one of the greatest American collectors of the 20th century. A major, and extremely influential, publisher, Hearst amassed an art collection of immense size and scope, much of which he showcased in his retreat at Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California.
Further auction highlights include a rare pair of Imperial embellished lapis lazuli ‘Da Ji’ double-gourd-form plaques, also Qianlong period (estimate: £120,000 – 180,000), made by skilled craftsmen using the most precious materials to create not only items of exceptional presence, but also numerous auspicious messages, through the use of careful motifs.
The auction will also star superb Chinese paintings, including Qi Baishi’s (1863-1957) Peaches and Chrysanthemums (estimate: £120,000 – 240,000), alongside a finely carved white jade marriage bowl, Qianlong Period, (estimate: £100,000 – 150,000, illustrated page one right) and a rare gilt-bronze figure of Shakyamuni, Ming Dynasty, (estimate: £50,000 – 80,000, illustrated page one left), which includes metal sculptures as part of its consecration and is a rare example of an early sculpture with its consecration intact. The process of consecrating a Buddhist sculpture was an elaborate ritual and it is rare for such figures to have the original base plate still intact.
From 30 October to 6 November Christie’s will present The van Daalen Collection of Chinese Art online auction, with a focus on export and armorial wares from the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong periods. Highlights include a blue and white composite part-dinner service dating to the Qianlong period (estimate: £8,000 – 12,000).