Chinese Artworks Reigned Supreme

On 30 April 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

China, an outsider at this complete auction of several specialties, reigned supreme.

China, 17th century. bronze statuette of Guanyin standing with brown patina and traces of gilding, h. 53.3 cm/20.99 in.
Result: €364,800

The rule was once again confirmed: estimates of objects from China do not predict their results. The sale began modestly but ended with much higher bids, starting with €346,800 for a 17th-century bronze statuette of Guanyin with a brown patina and traces of gilding. The female deity in the Buddhist pantheon stands with a fly-whisk in her right hand. Her face is serene, and she carries the seated Buddha in a mandorla in front of her hair raised in a bun.

Porcelain was equally coveted. A guan jar decorated with a blue underglaze featuring wild geese in an exotic landscape with bamboo, flowering millet and a stream (h. 28 cm/11.03 in, dia. 34 cm/13.39 in), fetched €108,800. There is no mention of a mark or stamp in the bidding sheet; but presumably it was under the heel, catching the bidders’ attention.

A nearly identical result, €101,120, awaited a large circular wall plaque (dia. 62 cm/24.41 in) fully adorned with enamels of the rose family. The decoration also features a landscape of a mountain, pine trees and rocks with scholars sitting around a table conversing or unfurling a painted scroll, as well as children having tea. The piece dates from the Guangxu period (1875-1908). A large Ming Dynasty ochre and green glazed clay ridge tile (h. 51 cm/20.08 in) depicting an armor-wearing temple guard in a defensive position sold for €10,880. Then the auction leapfrogged to 19th-century Japan: a wakizashi sword (o-tanto) with a grooved blade (l. 36.2 cm/14.26 in) fetched €57,600.

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