Fall Asian Decorative Arts auction at Bonhams achieves over $2.15 million

9 Oct 2013, Asian Decorative Arts
Asian Decorative Arts

Fall Asian Decorative Arts auction at Bonhams achieves over $2.15 million

9 Oct 2013, Asian Decorative Arts

San Francisco—Bonhams Asian Decorative Arts auction on October 9 followed directly on the heels of the firm's Samurai auction which successfully concluded in the New York sales room the prior day. The San Francisco auction was a solid success, achieving a result of more than $2.15 million with 84% of the lots sold. The sale saw consistent results from strong bidding on the more than 500 lots which included many fresh to the market items from private collections and institutions.

The sale began with a bang as a number of jade items far surpassed their high estimates. The jades included a yellow jade pendent from the collection of General and Mrs. John K. Singlaub which had been acquired in China during the late 1940s. The pendent, which had not appeared on the market for nearly 70 years, sold for an astonishing $50,000. Other jade highlights included a group of three jade pendants which sold for $31,250 (est. $3,000-5,000).

In the Chinese porcelain session, the highest price was achieved by a blue and white glazed famille rose enameled moon flask, Qianlong mark, which was sold by the Portland Art Museum of Portland, Oregon, to benefit the Collection. The piece saw spirited bidding from attendants in the room, on the telephones and on the Bonhams online bidding platform. In the end, the moon flask achieved $87,500 (est. $2,000-3,000). Other porcelain highlights included a massive famille rose enameled vase which sold for $61,250 and a Ming dynasty Longquan celadon charger which sold for $22,500 (est. $3,000-5,000).

A gilt bronze figure of Amitayus from the Qianlong period, and inscribed 1770, rose to the top of the decorative session, selling for an impressive $56,250 (est. $3,000-5,000). The figure was preceded by a gilt bronze figure of Amitayus and a gilt bronze model of a Llama, each fetching $11,250.

The middle of the sale saw a number of strong results for Chinese furniture, including a blue and white porcelain inset floor screen which sold for $47,500, preceded by a set of mother of pearl inlaid furniture which fetched $37,500. An export hardwood console table and side chairs from the estate of Joseph A. Donohoe V of San Francisco sold for a notable $35,000.

Chinese paintings continued to have a strong showing with a 19th century Chinese landscape painting, after the artist Zhao Mengfu, surging past its pre-sale estimate of $5,000-7,000. Multiple phone bidders vied for the work, and it finally sold for $35,000.

Snuff bottles were a staple of Bonhams' Asian auction with two notable bottles: a Canton enameled bottle and a double gourd form porcelain bottle fetching $50,000 and $17,500, respectively.

Concluding the sale was the Japanese session which was punctuated by a Japanese-style carved wood cabinet which fetched $10,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-2000, sold to benefit the Collection of the Portland Art Museum.

The Asian Art Department of Bonhams is currently accepting consignments for upcoming sales in San Francisco, New York and Hong Kong, with the next San Francisco sale taking place December 17-18.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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