Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chinese Guangxu Mark and Period Cong Vase

Imperial Guangxu Vase Cong

Chinese Guangxu Mark and Period Cong Vase 

Chinese Guangxu Mark and Period Cong Vase 

By the end of the 19th C. nearing the end of Imperial rule in China the quality of Chinese porcelain production suffered mightily. The under glaze blue, famlle rose enamels, wucai, docai and famille verte decorated vases, bowls, cups, plates and ritual wares had all fallen in quality with rare exceptions. Their had also been a chronic shortage in fine quality raw materials for decades as well as money to support production of items for the Imperial house.

Qing Monochrome Porcelain 

The one shining area of Chinese porcelain production during this period of decline was in the production of monochromes. In particular of fine quality Tea Dust, Celadons and Clair de lune glazed Mark and Period examples were still being produced albeit in small quantity's.

Chinese Guangxu Mark and Period Cong Vase
Guangxu Mark on Base
As a dealer it is still possible to come across these examples in local estates, particularly here in New England as they were brought from China prior to World War I before the kilns making these examples collapsed ending production.

A few weeks ago we were fortunate get a call about one of these in the form of a fine late 19th C mark and period Cong , coated with a fine thick evenly applied  soft bluish slightly green glaze. The base was neatly decorated with the six character mark of the Guangxu Emperor (1875 - 1908) in under glaze blue of superb quality.

After securing from the estate we have opted to place it on Ebay. It  will be there for another 9 days for our regular buyers to consider and bid on.  To see it and other things of good quality right now click the link below in the box  titled "Our Favorite Sellers, Search No. 2". To see how our Cong is doing scroll down a bit...its there, you might need to click to the next page...

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  • Congs and Cong shaped objects have been produced within Chinese Culture For for almost 5,000 years. Initially they were made from jades during the  Liangzhu culture (3400-2250 BC). The
    early examples were basically a tube with a circualr interior and a squared outer perimeter. While they are thought to be resulting from some ritual origin but what their initial use was has never been figured out...Today the form still exists though much evolved. 

Carved Jade Cong Vase

Liangzhu Culture Jade Cong

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Antique Collector's Mistake Cost Him $200,000 in Britain

A Pair is Worth Three Times As Much As One Item

In the antiques business a very good general rule of thumb a pair of great things are worth three to five times
Antique Collector's Mistake Cost Him $200,000 in Britain

Kangxi Imperial Marked Bowl Base

as much of just one object. The reasons are many, not the least of which pairs of great rarities are rare. Over the years pairs are often broken up. Siblings settling estates will split a pair so each has at least one from mom, dad or grandparents. 

A situation in England at Canterbury Auction Galleries illustrates the point perfectly. Canterbury is a terrific local auction house located in Canterbury in the county of Kent. It's an easy drive an hour or so east of London. Check their site periodically, they get into some good estates....
Imperial Kangxi Pheasant Bowl

Rare Imperial Kangxi Marked Bowl

A Pair of Early 18th C. Kangxi Period Imperial Chinese Bowls, WOW A Pair!

A while ago Tony Evans a local antiques collector consigned a very rare Chinese Kangxi period Pheasant Bowl to Canterbury for auction. Simple enough, it was a terrific mark and period bowl with a pre-sale estimate of 8,000 to 12,000 pounds. Due to the massive demand for fine quality Chinese works of art and in particular Imperial porcelain examples like this bowl the final selling price was 235,000 pounds..

Shortly after the sale the seller realized he had given his son Simon the mate to this bowl 30 years earlier as a gift. Back then it wasn't nearly as valuable and the gift had been forgotten by both father and son until the dad's bowl sold..

Canterbury Auction Kangxi Bowl

Reverse of Kangxi Pheasant Bowl

Regrettably they learned too late, had the pair been offered together they very likely would have reached over 300,000 pounds each or 600,000 pounds or more for the pair. The second bowl is scheduled to be sold in April 16-17th, 2013 and estimated to bring around the same selling price of the previous example. Frankly I suspect it may do better as the buyer of the first is very possibly going to want to reunite the pair and will push the price accordingly. 

The two bowls were originally bought by Tony Evans' father while working in China during the 1920 on behalf of the Anglo/Chinese mining company located in the port city of Tientsin not far from Beijing. It was during that time he began collecting and had acquired the bowls, along with other items. His son Tony (now 80) became a collector during the 1960's and 70's. 

Simon has opted to sell the second bowl rather than worry about it being damaged or stolen. Not a bad idea at all.

So the next time you get a pair of something, hang on to them...breaking them up could be very expensive down the road.

You can read the entire story  as it was reported on "Mail Online" by Emily Davies

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

$3 Dollar Yard Sale Bowl Brings 2.2 Million at Sotheby's New York

Sothebys in New York has reported a bowl sold through the auction house realized 2.2 Million Dollars, which in the world of Asian art is not that unusual. What is unusual the bowl was bought in 2007 for $3 at a yard sale by a family in New York.

2.2 Million dollar Song Bowl

Rare Song Dynasty Bowl realizes 2.2 Million Dollars

The extremely rare "Ding ware" bowl measuring just 5 inches in diameter and dating to the Song Dynasty sat on the owners mantle as a decoration for the last five years until it was sold in New York. This extremely rare example was bought by London dealer Giuseppe Eskenazi on Tuesday March 19th. 

The only other known example was left to The British Museum in 1947 by the legendary collector Henry J Oppenheim.


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Below is the Catalog Entry From Sothebys on the piece.

The finely potted body of slightly rounded and steep flared form rising from a short spreading foot to an upright rim, deftly carved to the interior with scrolling leafy lotus sprays, the exterior carved and molded with three rows of overlapping upright leaves, applied overall with an even ivory-colored glaze with characteristic teardrops at the base, the rim of the bowl and the footrim left unglazed showing the fine compact body beneath. Diameter 5 3/8  in., 13.4 cm -   Estimation:
200,000 - 300,000 USD

NOTE: The present bowl displays all the characteristics attributed to the finest ‘Ding’ wares known in museum and private collections. Celebrated for their thin potting, fine near-white body and an ivory-colored glaze which tends to run down in somewhat darker ‘tears’, ‘Ding’ wares were ranked among the ‘five great wares’ of the Song a term coined by collectors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The high quality of the potting seen here is evident in the feather light weight of the bowl with the carved walls especially thin and delicate. The whiteness of the body is also special, as is the case with most ‘Ding’ wares, it did not require the application of a slip to appear white after firing. The glaze is expertly applied with the incised lotus spray design seen in the interior of the bowl in harmony with the overlapping leaves applied to the exterior of the piece. ‘Ding’ designs generally display a high level of naturalness and fluidity, however, the maker of this bowl appears to have bee  particularly skilled at rendering his lines in a spontaneous manner, creating a decoration that is especially free in style. The shape of the bowl is also worth noting as, while rare amongst ‘Ding’ bowls, the type is known from silver examples of the Song period. For example, see a bowl illustrated in Zhongguo jin yin poli falangqi quanji, vol. 2 (2), Shijiazhuang, 2000, pl. 261, together with another silver bowl of more rounded body but the exterior molded with layers of overlapping upright leaves, reminiscent of that seen on this bowl, pl. 262. 

Only one other bowl of the same form, size and almost identical decoration is known; the piece in the British Museum London, published in The World’s Great Collections. Oriental Ceramics, vol. 5, Tokyo, 1981, pl. 57. This bowl was bequeathed to the museum in 1947 by Henry J. Oppenheim, together with a small number of other ‘Ding’ pieces, including a plain dish with foliate rim, pl. 62, and a bowl with molded decoration of boys and flowers, pl. 61.

The kiln site identified with ‘Ding’ ware is located at Quyang in Ding county, Hebei province. This was an area formerly known as ‘Dingzhou’. ‘Ding’ production consisted mostly of small utilitarian wares such as dishes and bowls, generally left in their natural form undecorated in 10th and early 11th century. From the late 11th century and early 12th century they are increasingly incised and carved and later through the thirteenth century mold-impressed and densely patterned. Rose Kerr in her work on the collection of Song ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, mentions that the ‘fact that Ding ware was an official ware made one feature of its decoration especially pronounced. This was its tendency to mimic other, more precious materials such as gold and silver, huge quantities of which were stored in palace treasures’. See Rose Kerr, Song Ceramics, London, 1982, p. 102, for further information.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chinese and Asian Art Estate Auction Porcelain, jades, Bronzes and Silks

Un Reserved New England Estate Auction of Chinese and Fine Asian Art through March 25th, 2013

Ming Porcelain Charger

Ming Dynasty Blue and White Charger

Its not often that a large group of 500 pieces of good quality examples of Chinese, Korean and Japanese art as well as Southeast Asian examples appears on the EBAY as auction items being sold with no reserves.  Right now through March 25th 2013, this is exactly whats happening.

Kevin Bruneau Of PBS Program "Market Warriors" Selling Asian Art Collection

Down in Rhode Island Bruneu's antiques is doing a terrific no reserve auction on Ebay.
..I came across it yesterday and it's all worth taking a look at. Especially the bronzes.
  • Many of you may know Keven from his work on the PBS program titled Market Warriors.   I've met him only a couple times while attending auctions,  he's a very nice fellow, a hard worker and he's bright. My impression of him is he is reliable guy who simply loves what he does...that's a good thing. 

A Direct Link to the Auction From Kevin Bruneau

Finding the auction is easy..Click the link below which will get you there directly rather than having to scour the 150,000 plus listings on Ebay's Asian Section. 

  • Click the highlighted link below (Search No 1) 

Our Favorite Sellers, Search No. 1

  • Once the page opens just scroll down a bit and find the listings with the Ebay Seller name "BKCRANSTON" which is Kevin's Ebay user name.  
From there you'll find all of his listings Kevin has put up...  Have fun!

The link above is provided by the Ebay Partner Site

Below are just a FEW of the things he's selling.

Ming, Qing, Famille Rose, Kangxi, Qianlong marked Bronzes and Textiles..and a lot More.

Ming Celadon vase

Ming Dynasty Celadon

The listings include a very nice selection of Chinese and Korean bronzes, some are in gilt and inscribed as well as Japanese pieces, he's put up some interesting good quality jades mostly from the late 19th and early 20th C. .
Porcelains are represented with early 17th C. Ming blue and white pieces, Kangxi plates as well as Famille Rose planters, bowls and wall pockets. Their are also some good textiles in frames and appear to be in good condition. 
In other words this is a good lot gathered from around New England over the last 5 or 6 months. 

Qianlong Gilt Bronze

18th C. Chinese Gilt Bronze Qianlong Marked


Chinese Silk Court Scene

Framed 19th C. Chinese Silk

Chinese jade vase and Flowers

Late 19th C. Chinese Jade Group

Rare Yixing tea Pot

Rare 18th C. Yixing Inscribed Tea Pot

Chinese Gilt Bronze

Late Ming to Early Qing Chinese Gilt Bronze

Chinese White jade

White jade Vessel, Chinese Early 20th C. 

Chinese Famille Rose planter
Late 19th C. Famille Rose Planter on Stand.

late 19th C. Famille Rose wall Pockets
Fine Famille Rose Wall Pockets on Carved Mounts, 19th C. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sotheby's Hong Kong to hold Contemporary Asian Art Spring Sale 2013 on 5 April More Information:[/url] Copyright ©

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction planned for April 5, 2013.

HONG KONG.- Sotheby’s Hong Kong will hold its Contemporary Asian Art Spring Sale 2013 on 5 April at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, following the sale of private collection of You Are Not Alone - Yoshitomo Nara Works from the Kurokochi Collection and In Transition – The Didier Hirsch Collection of Contemporary Chinese Art from The 1990s, presenting 110 lots of meticulously selected contemporary Asian works. 

Estimated to fetch in excess of HK$140 million / US$13.3 million*, the auction this season underlines works of great historical importance by prominent contemporary Chinese artists, such as Fang Lijun, Liu Wei (b. 1965), Liu Ye and Zeng Fanzhi. Young Chinese artists including Jia Aili and Liu Wei (b.1972) along with a series of Pumpkin works by contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, will also be offered. 

The Hong Kong Artists Section will showcase Hong Kong creative forces and their works under the influence of urbanisation, globalisation and the intersection of Chinese and Western culture. Evelyn Lin, Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Asian Art, said, “We are honoured to present a group of important contemporary Asian works, including Chinese artist Fang Lijun’s important 1990-1991 painting – Series 1, No. 4, worthy for their scholarly and collecting value to commemorate Sotheby’s 40th Anniversary in Asia. Sotheby’s exceptionally curated Contemporary Asian Art auctions have been well received by collectors, which strengthen our forerunning status in the region. 

This season, we continue to introduce special sections devoted to recent works by emerging mainland Chinese and Hong Kong artists – while the former show the transformation of contemporary Chinese artists through a period of rapid changes, with their focus shifting from political symbolism and social issues to subjective and personal feelings, the latter further signify Sotheby’s commitment to bringing Hong Kong art to the auction realm, following the 100%-sold special section in our Autumn 2012 Sale. Both sections serve to cater to collector’s eclectic taste.” 

More Information:
Copyright ©

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chinese Exhibition of Chinese Bronzes Found By Villagers over 35 years

Chinese Exhibition of Chinese Bronzes Found By Villagers over 35 years

Chinese Villagers in Shaanxi Province Display National Treasures Found Locally, an amazing story. 

China Daily News Reports
The communities of Baoji are forever linked with China's ancient metallurgy. Wang Kaihao reports on the pride and the preservation.

Chinese Exhibition of Chinese Bronzes Found By Villagers over 35 years

Shang Bronzes On Display

For residents in Baoji, Shaanxi province, also known as "the hometown of bronze ware",protecting historical treasures is one way to safeguard their homeland. At least, that is what they want to express through a compelling exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing.

The one-month free exhibition Watching and Guarding Home continues through March 31. It includes 156 bronze artifacts ranging from sacrificial vessels to musical instruments, accidentally discovered by Baoji's residents since 1975.

"It's not too exaggerated to say these are national treasures," says Yan Zhi, the museum archaeologist and also the curator of this exhibition.

Yan says that among the exhibits, 62 items have been appraised as national grade-one artifacts and 76 are still waiting to be graded. He estimates two-thirds of the exhibits will be top-graded national treasures.

"And it is not often that our museum is able to exhibit such a huge number of rare antiques, and all of them were discovered by local villagers." Imagine that! a Chinese exhibition of Chinese bronzes found by villagers over 35 years and put together for a show.

Local History And What was Discovered

Baoji was the birthplace of Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-771 BC) and a major cultural hub in the following centuries. Innumerable items of bronze ware, symbolic ancient Chinese artifacts, have been unearthed in the area. Yan says 90 percent of the nation's bronze ware carved with long inscriptions was found around Baoji.

Yan adds this is also the first time that more than 100 bronze artifacts from Baoji has ever been assembled outside of Shaanxi province.

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One third of the items in the current exhibition were just discovered last year.

"My neighbors were building a new cabin and has dug a hole which was about 8 to 9 meters deep," recalls villager Xu Haijun from Shizuitou village, Shigu town in Baoji, who accidentally uncovered some of the treasures last June.

Xu attributes his discovery to his curiosity. "I stood by and watched for a few minutes," says the 30-year-old, who works at a pumping station. He suddenly heard a clink, and shouted at the workers to stop because he thought the water pipe had been broken. However, when the earth was cleaned, the workers found that their tools had hit bronzes. Xu immediately reported the situation to local authorities.

The find is not an everyday occurrence, he says. "I only heard about one neighbor once finding a relic at the field many years ago. Don't misunderstand we can easily find treasures because we lie on them," he says, giggling.

"But when more villagers build new houses and excavate deeper foundations, I guess more relics will be found."

The Wester Zhou Jin Discovery

Archaeologists unearthed a rare item called Jin, of the Western Zhou Dynasty, in the hole. It was the first time after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 that this coffee table-shaped artifact was discovered, and so it has become a highlight of the Beijing's exhibition.

According to Yang Hongbin, deputy director of Baoji municipal cultural relics bureau, only five pieces of Jin were ever found, all in Baoji. Two others are also being exhibited, one in the Tianjin Museum and the other in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Jin means "to forbid" in Chinese. It is said the king promoted it to remind the aristocrats to control themselves because the previous dynasty, the Shang (c. 16th century-11th century BC) declined largely due to its last king's dissipated life, especially his excessive drinking.

The Jin on the exhibition is 94.5 cm long, 45 cm wide, and 20.5 cm tall, weighing about 42 kg.Academics have not reached a consensus to explain why the Jin is so rare. One likely reason:this huge piece has to be cast as a whole, with a highly demanding technique.

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"Maybe the other explanation is that only the people here are so obedient in making the items while other places didn't follow the king's guidance," Yang jokes.

More than 10 villagers at Shigu found bronze ware in 2012. Each of them, including Xu, got5,000 to 15,000 yuan ($804-2,400) as a reward. This led to the discovery of the tomb of an early Western Zhou Dynasty aristocrat, which has been the last decade's most important archaeological discovery in Baoji.

In the past decade, Yang says, the government has spent at least half a million yuan to reward locals who contribute to the protection of historical relics, after 25 important findings were reported.

Since 2003, the city has been pointed out as one of the finest examples on the protection of historical relics. While the government actively promotes relevant national laws in rural communities, Yang confesses there still are some cases of tomb raiding every year. Baoji police authority arrested 101 grave-robbery suspects in 2012 and recovered 438 pieces of stolen antiques.

"It is a must to simultaneously stop the crimes and better educate the people," Yang says proudly. "Fortunately, people in Baoji are nice.

"As we live on this land, we cannot let its tangible history die away."

Monday, March 11, 2013

19th C. Guangxu Tea Dust Vase, Mark and of the Period

19th C. Guangxu Tea Dust Vase, Mark and of the Period

Fine Imperial Guangxu Chinese Tea Dust Glaze Vase at Auction on eBay

They do not come along very often, but on occasion an example of this quality appear. We are selling this one on behalf of an estate here in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. This fine vase has belonged to the family since it was purchased in Italy during the 1930's. Its has since been inherited by the original purchaser's daughter and now the granddaughters. Currently it is being sold at auction on Ebay...


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19th C. Chinese Guangxu Tea Dust Glaze vase, Mark and of the Period,  (1875-1908) 

  • We are pleased to offer an exceptionally rare late 19th C. vase with exceptional color, fine glaze and superb shaped. It is in pristine condition. The foot is un-glazed and extremely smooth to touch, the bottom is glazed and centered by two columns of incised script denoting the mark and period within a lighter glazed rectangular panel. Height 13 inches, perfect condition.

Provenance: This vase was purchased in Italy during the early 1930's by Paolo Venini, the founder of the Venini Glass Company in Venice located on the island of Murano. Thence by decent through the family to his daughter (in 1959) here in America and is being sold on behalf of his two granddaughters.
19th C. Guangxu Tea Dust Vase, Mark and of the Period

13" Chinese Guangxu Mark and Period Tea Dust vase

Glaze of Tea Dust vase

Glaze, Chinese Tea Dust vase 

Detail image of foot and mark Guangxu Period

Gungxu Imperial reign mark