On 9 June, the Asian Art department of Christie’s France will offer a selection of 273 lots for an estimate of between €5.6m and €8.4m, coming from private European and Asian Art collections covering more than 3,000 years of Far Eastern art. All the richness of Asian art and the different mediums in which it unfolds will be highlighted, with the sale featuring important Buddhist art, archaic bronzes, ancient ceramics, Ming and Qing dynasty porcelain, jade sculptures, cloisonné enamels, lacquerware, and classical and modern Chinese paintings.
The highlight of the Asian Art sale is a magnificent 15th century Tibetan statue of Buddha Bhaisajyaguru (Healing Buddha) from a private Dutch collection. He is depicted seated in Vajrasana, the main Buddhist meditation position. He holds the attributes of the ‘Master Healer’ in his hands: the myrobalan fruit, which symbolises the supreme remedy, and an alms bowl. His forehead is adorned with the urna, which represents the third eye, the vision into the divine world, his high knot is topped with the ushnisha and his fingers are webbed. These are three of the thirty-two great physical characteristics of Buddha. This rare and important statue is estimated to be worth between €350,000 and €550,000.
Another highlight of the Asian Art sale is a magnificent gilt-bronze ritual bell dating from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and estimated at €400,000-600,000. Called bianzhong, these bells were essential in the conduct of Confucian ritual ceremonies at imperial altars, official banquets, and during processions. Usually used with jade (qing) chimes, the tones struck by these bells had cosmological significance and were considered a means of invoking the Immortals.
From an important Asian collection, collectors will be able to acquire a majestic tripod bronze incense burner from the Shang Dynasty (12th-11th century BC). This superb 33-century-old object has acquired a beautiful green patina over the years and its body is decorated with large Taotie masks. Similar models are displayed in the Hunan Provincial Museum and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. It is estimated at 300,000-500,000€.
The sale will also include some magnificent paintings by leading Chinese artists, such as Fu Baoshi’s (1904-1965) Snowy landscape (pictured right), which skilfully navigates between abstraction and figuration. This work, priced at €300,000-500,000, was acquired directly from the artist in the 1940s-1950s and has been kept by the same family until today. Also in the Paintings section is a colourful work by Lin Fengmian (1900-1991), Flowers, from the same collection, estimated at €80,000-120,000. Finally, the delicate Washing the white elephant, attributed to the fabulous Cui Zizhong (died 1644) will also be auctioned. The theme of this Buddhist-inspired work was a favorite of this Beijing scholar, who chose to make a living from his artistic talents rather than follow his intended career as a civil servant. This work is also estimated at €80,000-120,000.
Exceptional Chinese porcelain pieces from the Ming dynasty will also be offered at the auction: a sumptuous Zhengtong – Tianshun (1436-1464) porcelain jar, and an extraordinary Wanli (1573-1619) porcelain covered the box. These pieces, in blue and white, demonstrate the finesse and refinement of 15th-century Chinese ceramics and are estimated at €60,000-80,000 each.
Coming from an important European private collection, a rare Chinese cloisonné vase with its lid and base should attract the attention of collectors. This piece stands out for its bright colours and its decoration, composed of friezes and fantasy animals. Dating from the Qing dynasty (18th-19th centuries), this true work of art is estimated between 15,000 and 20,000 euros. This collection also features a fine group of Himalayan artworks including an important bronze of Sadaksharilokeshvara circa 15th century estimated at €50,000-70,000.
Finally, the collector will have the opportunity to acquire a beautiful pale celadon jade group carved in cranes from the Qing dynasty, and more precisely from the Qianlong period (1736-1795). This precious and delicate object is executed with remarkable accuracy and craftsmanship. It is estimated at €100,000-120,000.
Sale: 9 June 2021 at 10:30 am and 2 pm
Exhibition: June 5th to 8th from 10 am to 6 pm. Open on Sunday from 2 pm to 6 pm
Christie’s : 9 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris