Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Selling Chinese Antiques; Porcelain, Jades, Bronzes

About Selling Chinese Antiques or Consigning Porcelain, Jades, Bronzes

About: plcombs Chinese and Asian Art, Gloucester, Massachusetts

  • What we do and how we can probably help you.
Are you selling Chinese Antiques? If this is the case, we are possibly exactly who you've been looking for. We've been dealers and appraisers of Asian antiques going back to the late 1970's. During the past 36 plus years we've sold collections on behalf of estates and heirs from nearly every state in the union, as well as more than a few in Europe and Asia. Many of our customers have been with us for years and today we are selling things we originally helped them acquire decades ago. 

Today we are among the two oldest Asian art dealers in New England and among the top few with as many years in the business in the United States. 

Selling Chinese Antiques
plcombs, Asian and Chinese Antiques, Gloucester, MA
We buy single items or entire collections outright, sell on consignment and act as agents on behalf of buyers and sellers. We also perform appraisals for estates, equitable distributions and insurance coverage.

  • Helping you make decisions.

We can answer your questions, "should we put things in an auction?", "we contacted Christie's and Sotheby's and they both suggested contacting local auctioneer instead", "why do auction houses charge so much?", "how do we sell and be in control of the price?", "how long does it take to sell for a good price" , and on and on. 

We know through decades of experience not all objects sell well in the same environment. Some Chinese art and antiques are ideal auction candidates and worth the heavy fees charged, others require patience and should be sold at a fixed price while waiting for the right buyer. Other items can be sold immediately for excellent prices to specialty dealers working with an eager collector who is ready right now. Or perhaps directly to an advanced collector already the dominant buyer for a particular type of item. 

  • Understanding how the asian art market works is a complicated endeavour that requires decades of active, daily involvement. We have been doing it since Jimmy Carter was President when China began first opening up to the west.  If you have questions and would like to talk with about what you need, please feel free to contact us. 

The Chinese Art and Antiques Market Today

Selling Chinese Antiques; Porcelain, Jades, Bronzes
Chinese Ming Dynasty Blue and White Porcelains
Selling Chinese Antiques; Its no secret in the world of art and antiques the Asian art market for Chinese antiques including porcelains, bronzes, jades, scrolls and silks has never been stronger.  In the last fifteen years as the American furniture and decorative art market has pretty much collapsed, on the other side of the world China's appetite for their own cultural relics and art has been blossoming. 

All of this is happening thanks to the rapid rise of the Chinese economy, increased disposable incomes, coupled with a desire by mainland Chinese collectors to re-acquire and repatriate objects for private collections throughout the country. Many have built their own private museums, Shanghai alone has over 50 of them. 

This is very good news if you're contemplating or need to sell virtually any form of Chinese antique.

The Future of the Chinese Antiques and Art Market

Will it last? is it a bubble? In a word "probably" and yes it's a "bubble" of sorts. While the massive regular annual price increases of the last 10 or 15 years seems to have subsided and levelled off, which is only normal and perhaps healthy after such a long run up. I doubt prices will be rolling back much if at all anytime soon. The overall demand there has remained consistent in most categories. 

As with all maturing art markets, buyer's are however becoming more selective which as a result dampens upward pressure on the overall market. This condition has been fairly evident for the last couple years, with the exception of demand for the absolute very best of the best when they become available. Then "the gloves come off" and the top buyer's emerge with their vast wallets to do battle for the prize. 

So for now we see a stable market, with some room for upward price movement, with relatively minor adjustments downward in a few areas. All in all, its a good situation. 

At plcombs Asian Art and Antiques. We can make selling Chinese antiques a lot less complicated, its what we do. 

Friday, May 08, 2015

Examining a 17th C. Ming Dynasty Bronze Buddha

17th C. Ming Dynasty Bronze Buddha 

Note: Click any image to enlarge.
17th C. Ming Buddha
16th C. Ming Bronze Buddha
17th C. Ming Buddha
17th C. Ming Buddha
A couple weeks ago we had the very good fortune to acquire a great 17th C. Ming dynasty Bronze Buddha and thought it would be nice to share.

While bronze Buddha's from the Ming dynasty are not common in that you find them everywhere, certain types , those under 12" or 13" tall in reasonably decent condition can and are found here in New England. Over the years we've sold many mostly to collectors in the EU and in mainland China as well as Hong Kong.

16th C. Kwan Yin
Early to mid 16th C. Kwan Yin
16th C. Ming Bronze Buddha
Early to mid 16th C. Ming Bronze Buddha
The fairly typical ones are depicted to the left and right here. Most date from the early 16th into the first half of the 17th C. On occasion you might come across an earlier one from the late Yuan and early Ming. 

All perched on a lotus bases, with nice surfaces and on occasions with an inscription of some kind. Sometimes with a date.  

Typically they have no bottom plate like those found on Tibetan figures and not as often gilded. But may have pigment and lacquer coatings. These typically sell in the $3,500 to $15,500 range depending on surface, details and condition. 

A Large 17th C. Ming Dynasty Bronze Buddha

17th C. Chinese Bronze Buddha
23.9 " 17th C. Chinese Bronze Buddha
17th C. Ming Dynasty Bronze Buddha Then you have these other examples, like this very large and gilt lacquered 17th C. Ming dynasty Bronze Buddha. Measuring 23.90" tall, in three sections comprising the octagonal balustrade base with waves inside the balusters with a centered bronze post to support the Lotus blossom stand for the 16" tall Buddha.

A number of things obviously sets this example apart for the more run of the mill bronzes. First off is the size, bronze Buddha's with stands are exceedingly rare. We did a bit of checking ith both Christie's and Sothebys'. In the last 6 or 7 years Sotheby's has had roughly 3 or 4 of these and Christie's had none that we could find, I must assume there were a couple, but couldn't find them.

The Face and Details

The details of this particular casting are quite excellent. The clear sharp execution of the face, it's shape and proportions are all done nearly perfectly. The hair of the figure is colored with powdered Lapis Lazuli mixed with a thin solution of hide glue (typically) as a binder. 

Ming Bronze Buddha base
Ming Buddha Lotus Base
Ming Buddha Base with waves
Ming Buddha Base with waves

The Lacquer Finish

This Buddha was also coated with a fine wash of gilt lacquer originally, something that up until the late 1600's was done mostly only on Tibetan Buddha's. Despite the loss of this original surface, due to age, the figure still glows softly with a warm tone bringing out the details. 


Fortunately this piece despite it's size survived without any losses to the fingers, ears, head piece, lotus leaves of base. 
The Lotus plinth or base is slightly recessed to permit the figure to be framed attractively across it's base with the tips overlapping gently and giving the visual impression of the figure being received into the flower petals. 

Below the Lotus blossom is the octagonal balustrade base centered with lapping waves, centered by a post supporting the blossom and figure implying the two parts are floating above the sea. 

The underside of the Lotus blossom is fully articulated in a realistic manner and fitted with a receiving hole for the base's post. 

Thank you for visiting. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. If you have a fine bronze or other Asian Antiques to sell, we would be pleased to talk with you about them without obligation. 

Friday, April 03, 2015

Yongzheng and Qianlong Porcelain Feet and Reign Marks

Yongzheng and Qianlong Porcelain Feet and Reign Marks

A Visual Guide for Authenticating Chinese Porcelain 

"Foot rims are the window to the soul"  (of porcelain anyway) 

As we've pointed out in similar posts books and reference guides on Chinese porcelains are usally
Yongzheng and Qianlong Porcelain Feet and Reign Marks
Qianlong Reign mark, C.T. Loo
lacking good clear images of the feet and marks. Its true that some do show the reign mark, but they are generally much too small and leave out the bases. To help with this we thought it would be very useful for collectors and dealers to present some illustrated examples. 

"I wish I could see the foot", how many times have you said that?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ming Qing Period Reign Marks

Ming and Qing Period Reign Marks

And authentic examples on period examples BELOW the two charts for reference, Both Ming and  Qing examples.

Book Mark this page for reference! Its always handy.
Check below for the Chinese Cyclic calendar as well..!

Bellow are charts for both Ming and Qing Period reign marks , as well as authentic examples that can be found on porcelains from the periods. While some variations of style do exist, they are in general fairly consistent through most periods. Reign marks do not always indicate the authenticity of the pieces being examined. This page is intended to serve only as a guide when all the other criteria for an items authenticity has been decided.

Ming Period Reign Marks and Dates:

Ming and Qing Period Reign Marks
Ming Period Reign Marks

Qing Dynasty Reign Marks and Dates:

Qing Dynasty reign Marks
Qing Period Reign Marks

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Selling Asian Antiques on Consignment

Selling Asian Antiques on Consignment

Inheritance, Downsizing, Estate Settlement of Asian Antiques

Selling Asian Antiques on Consignment
Selling Asian Antiques on Consignment

Most folks looking to sell part of, or all of a collection of antiques do so in an effort to liquidate an inheritance, downsize a bit after they themselves have collected for years or are settling an estate. It is our hope here to show how easy it a task it can be if you're considering selling Asian antiques on consignment.

While the acquisition side of antiques can be fairly straight forward, knowing and understanding how to most efficiently sell an object  or group of objects is another matter.  In the current market following the meteoric rise in the prices of Asian antiques, Chinese works of art in particular, knowing what to do and how requires another set of skills beyond that of most collectors and heirs.  

The Rapid Rise of Chinese Antique Values 

In the last 35 years, no category of antiques and art have risen as rapidly as those of Chinese decorative objects and art. The leap quite obviously has been driven entirely by the rise in China's expanding economy.  Trade with the west and progressive changes within the country have enabled increased free trade by Chinese nationals. 

As a result, China today is the single largest market on earth for art in dollar volume over any country in the world, including the United States. Spending in China has eclipsed all of the auction houses,
plcombs Asian Art, Gloucester Massachusetts

plcombs Asian Art, Gloucester, Massachusetts

galleries and antiques dealers from New York to Los Angeles. China is the epicenter of art globally today.  

How we at: "plcombs Asian Art" can help you

For over 35 years we've been appraising, buying and selling Asian antiques and works of for people from Boston's North Shore to California and Europe. 

During this time we've sold objects to quite literally thousands of collectors and specialist dealers globally including Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and throughout Europe. Very often on consignment for heirs and executors referred to us by attorneys, auctioneers, appraisers and antiques dealers. Many of our current customers are also the children of original clients we worked with decades ago.
*Our commission rates are very competitive, usually 20% to 40% below the major auction houses.

About "Selling Asian Antiques on Consignment"

Consignment selling is a very straight forward proposition. We come to you, examine the objects you are concerning yourself with. We can tell you about them, how old they are, discuss condition, rarity, values and then delve into the various options for their disposition. 

Should you decide you engage our service in selling them for you, we charge a commission rate on a sliding scale depending on values. We do provide all of this in writing, in simple English, including payment arrangements following completion of a transaction your behalf. 

After we accept a Consignment 
We set about to do exactly what we promised to do. Whether we agreed to a set price transaction, a negotiated price or to arrange for consignment to an appropriate auction gallery. It may also be a combination of venues, depending on each item's best market for the best price. 

Upon completion of each sale we provide a copy of each transaction receipt, photo copies of the checks and a check payable to you for the amount due to you.

For more about us you can also visit our other site, Bidamount.com
Bidamount is a site we built with eBay as their Partner to aide in the promotion of over 125 fine Asian art dealers around the world. We have another profile there as well under Who Is Bidamount. Today, it is ranked number ONE globally for Asian art on the eBay.  
plcombs New England Dealers in Asian AntiquesIf you're in the EU and need to speak to someone locally, let us know, we'll be happy top refer you to some excellent experienced dealers near you. Our current network contains over 125 active specialist dealers.

Have a question? Feel free to call or eMail us.

Thank you, Peter Combs