Selections from the Specialist | Asian Arts
Freeman’s March 12, 2016 auction features many rare and unusual Chinese works of decorative art that will challenge bidders to contemplate the value of property for which there is little precedent. Among the lots in the auction that are of fine quality and appeal to a wide majority of buyers and collectors of Chinese artworks are important porcelains, jades, and imperial works of glass. Exhibition of this sale will open to the public on Tuesday, March 8. We invite you to join us on Chestnut Street to view these and other works being offered in this upcoming auction.
The seal of Empress Xiaoyiren embodies the high development of potting and glazing techniques refined under the reign of Emperor Kangxi. The earliest American reference to this rare porcelain seal was penned by an expert of four generations past: Berthold Laufer, a patriarch in the field of modern Chinese art specialty. I am proud to have played a role in researching and cataloguing property of cultural and historical significance that has also passed across the desks and under the magnifying glasses of such past luminaries.
A large and exceptionally rare Chinese imperial porcelain seal of Empress Xiaoyiren
Formerly in the collection of the eminent art connoisseur Heber R. Bishop, are two unusual porcelain vases. Each of these unique porcelain masterpieces come with few comparables but strong, well-document provenance. They will be displayed alongside the hardbound catalogue published for the auction of Heber Bishop’s vast collection. The scope of that sale is staggering, as is Bishop’s importance in the history of American collecting.
A fine Chinese Ming-style blue and white porcelain bottle vase
An unusual Chinese pink ground underglaze and famille rose enameled vase with cup-form rim
Few pieces of glass evoke the Qianlong period quite so well as this fluted imperial yellow bottle vase of graceful proportion and diminutive form. It comes from one of two important Florida collections of Chinese glass featured in the sale. These lustrous treasures from the royal workshops of Beijing well represent the Qing dynasty in its golden age.
A fine Chinese yellow glass octagonal faceted bottle vase
From the imperial lapidary workshop comes a large covered censer carved from lavender and green jadeite. Its gemlike tone and graceful, rounded silhouette exemplify the courtly style of the late Qing period, when the Empress Dowager’s elegant and feminine aesthetic merged with traditional forms that hearkened to better days in the nation’s history.
A Chinese imperial jadeite tripod covered censer