Leads Bonhams Hong Kong Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Auction

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
24 Nov 2013
Hong Kong, Admiralty

The Bonhams Hong Kong Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction to be held at 2pm on 24 November at the Island Ballroom of the Island Shangri-La Hotel will offer around 400 lots, including a selection of Imperial porcelain, gilt-bronze, cloisonné, jade, snuff bottle, lacquer, bamboo and scholarly art. The sale also features a single-owner collection of over 160 lots of archaic bronzes from the Sze Yuan Tang collection, including archaic bronze vessel, weapons, fittings and ornaments, dating from the Erligang culture to Han dynasty.

Amongst the fine selection of Ming and Qing dynasty porcelain, the highlight is a magnificent and large Imperial blue and white 'dragon' dish dated with Qianlong seal mark and of the period. The central dragon is depicted with the utmost ferocity and overwhelming presence extending sharpened five-claws in fine representation of the Qianlong Emperor. It symbolises ultimate auspiciousness and authority, total control over all natural elements, luck and prosperity to those who are worthy. Well-known for his penchant for technically innovative and artistically challenging pieces, the sheer size of the dish meant the Emperor would have specially commissioned it. Technically, it was extremely difficult to fire without warping or any imperfections, even in the hands of the Imperial kilns at Jingdezhen. There are very few dragon dishes with such exceptional size and quality in museums and private collections around the world, with even fewer to have been offered at auction.

A magnificent and large Imperial blue and white 'dragon' dish
Qianlong six-character seal mark and of the period
44.8cm diam.
Estimate on Request

The auction also offers a selection of gilt-bronze pieces, which includes a rare gilt-bronze Densatil 'Buddha' frieze dated to the Ming dynasty, 14th / 15th century. The rare frieze would have once decorated the base of a stupa at Densatil, where eighteen large funerary reliquaries would have contained the mortal remains of the religious and political leaders of the Phagmogrupa. The complex at Densatil was destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and this frieze serves as a crucially preserved fragment of a lost history.

A rare gilt-bronze Densatil 'Buddha' frieze
Ming dynasty, 14th / 15th century
37.8cm wide. x 9.5cm deep.

Another star-lot amongst the great selection of Canton-enamelled pieces is a magnificent gilt and Canton-enamelled 'Imperial-tribute' pavilion-style clock. This clock is not only a timepiece but also a window to the era of foreign trade which led to centuries of cultural exchange between the East and the West. It would have been an important Imperial-tribute timepiece presented by the regional officials to the Emperor.

A magnificent gilt and Canton-enamelled 'Imperial-tribute' pavilion-style clock
Mid Qing dynasty
44.8cm high.

One of the most outstanding lacquer pieces in the upcoming auction is an Imperial circular lacquer 'qin' box and cover dated with Qianlong six-character mark and of the period with another four-character 'Guqin Baohe' mark. The box is decorated with the famous scene taken from the tale of Yu Boya playing qin and the fisherman Zhong Ziyi admiring his tune.

An Imperial circular lacquer 'qin' box and cover
Qianlong six-character mark and of the period
17.5cm diam. (2).

The auction also offers two very rare and important documentation from the Republican era. The first is an extremely rare Chinese 'one hundred dollar' currency note, dated 1942 and signed by Mao Zedong, Zhu De, Huang Hua and Ma Haide. The currency note is signed by all four Communist luminaries and twice by Chairman Mao Zedong, once in Chinese and once in English side by side, which is the only ever historical evidence of Chairman Mao's signature appearing in both scripts together. It was believed that his personal physician, Ma Haide, carried the signed currency note wherever he went, which served as an official identification document allowing him safe passage without interference during the Sino-Japanese War. The later is a rare and limited first edition 'Sian: A Coup d'État' hardcover book, published in May 1937, signed Mayling Soong Chiang, authored and personally signed by Madame Mayling Soong (Chiang), recollecting the accounts of the Xian Incident, complete with a chapter with historical extracts taken from her husband, Chiang Kai Shek's diary. The book was given to John P. Reeves Esq., O.B.E., who was the British Consul of Macau between the years 1942-1945 during the outbreak of the Second World War, and thence handed down, by descent within the family collection.

An extremely rare Chinese 'one hundred dollar' currency note
Dated 1942, signed by Mao Zedong, Zhu De, Huang Hua and Ma Haide
16.7cm wide. x 7.7cm high.

A rare and limited first edition 'Sian: A Coup d'État' hardcover book
Published in May 1937, Signed Mayling Soong Chiang
24.8cm high.; 18.4cm wide.

For more information please contact
Mabel Au-Yeung
+852 9038 8939


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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