Your guide to this spring's Asian art sales - Part II

The market for good quality Chinese antiques remains very strong - and a focus for many of the UK’s fine art auctioneers.

TSR Asian Bonhams Lacquer2

Detail of a Yuan dynasty lacquer tray - £80,000-120,000 at Bonhams.

TSR Asian Woolley Japan

Meiji silvered bronze okimono of a cockatoo - £7000-9000 at Woolley & Wallis

A clutch of salerooms hold regular specialist sales devoted to Chinese, Japanese and other Asian works of art - typically in autumn and again in late spring.
All price points and periods are represented from a huge range of different nations and cultures.
Here – in the second of two consecutive preview articles - we highlight some of the forthcoming May sales available to view and bid at via

The sale of Japanese works of art at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury on the morning of May 17 is led by this 8in (20cm) high silvered bronze okimono of a cockatoo.

Made in the Meiji period, the bird is naturalistically modelled with the feathers highlighted in gilt and the eyes, beak and claws in shakudo. It is signed in a gilt rectangular plaque Mitani sei. Estimate £7000-9000.

TSR Asian Lyon Turnbull

Transitional blue and white brush pot - £6000-8000 at Lyon & Turnbull

During the so-called Transitional period (1620-83), the turbulent era between the Ming and the Qing dynasties, court patronage of the porcelain factory at Jingdezhen all but dried up. As a result production became far more diverse.

Ceramics made specifically for merchants and scholars featuring scenes from famous Chinese epics were particularly popular.

Lyon & Turnbull’s Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art auction on May 13 includes this typical Transitional blue and white brush pot decorated with a continuous scene of the 'Seven Sages' in a bamboo grove.

It is estimated at £6000-8000.

TSR Asian Apollo

Tang dynasty painted terracotta figure - £4000-6000 at Apollo Galleries

This textbook 19in (48cm) Tang dynasty (618-906AD) ‘fat lady’ painted terracotta figure comes for sale at Apollo Galleries in London on May 14 with a guide of £4000-6000.

The figure comes with a thermoluminescence report from Oxford Authentication from an East Anglian private collection and was formerly acquired in the early 1990s in Hong Kong.

The emergence of the ‘Court Fat Lady’ as a popular image of Chinese identity first made its appearance under the Zhou dynasty, which briefly interrupted the Tang dynasty. The Tang fashion was towards the more buxom figure, a fashion set by Yang Guifei, the consort of emperor Xuanzong (712-756).

TSR Asian Ma San

Pair of Qing dynasty painted applique scenes - £4000-6000 at Ma San Auction

A sale of Asian art at Ma San Auction in Bath on May 12 includes this pair of Qing dynasty painted applique scenes that come for sale from Eynsham Hall, North Leigh, Oxfordshire.

The courtyard scenes full of various military figures, performers and Daoist figures are made by layering painted cut outs of paper and padded silk as well as adding other elements such as hair for beards. Estimate £4000-6000.

TSR Asian Roseber

Qianlong famille rose 'flowers and wufu' tazza - £8000-12,000 at Roseberys

This famille rose 'flowers and wufu' tazza that has an estimate of £8000-12,000 at the sale of Fine Chinese Art, South East Asian Works of Art, and Japanese works of Art at Roseberys London on May 17-18. It has an underglaze blue six-character Qianlong seal mark to the interior of the foot and is of the period.

A similar example is in the Qing Court Collection at the Palace Museum, Beijing while others offered at auction include that in the Edward T Chow collection sold at Sotheby's New York in September 2009.

TSR Asian Bonhams Lacquer

Yuan dynasty cinnabar lacquer dish - £80,000-120,000 at Bonhams

This 14th century cinnabar lacquer dish measuring almost 14in (35cm) across was acquired in Shanghai by the father of the present owner in the 1930s., No other Yuan or early Ming red lacquer dish with this complex ‘phoenix and peony’ design- probably based on Southern Song dynasty prototype - is known.

At Bonhams’ Fine Chinese Art sale in New Bond Street on May 12, it is estimated at £80,000-120,000.


Send feedback on this article