San Francisco — Two massive blue and white 'soldier' vases, formerly in the collection of Salvador Ugarte of Mexico City, stand out amongst a select group of Chinese Kangxi period porcelains to be offered at Bonhams San Francisco on June 24.
The term 'soldier' refers to the famous group of 151 Chinese blue and white porcelains which Augustus the Strong of Saxony received from Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia in exchange for 600 Saxon dragoons in 1717. The vases, carrying a pre-sale estimate of $100,000-200,000, came through the famous New York gallery Ralph Chait in the 1950s to Mr. Ugarte's collection and were then acquired by their current owner in Mexico City.
They are joined by two rare large wucai enameled jardinières, Kangxi six-character marks and of the period, offered at an estimate of $60,000-80,000. Brilliantly painted with peaches and song birds amidst pine and bamboo branches and deer walking amid faceted rocks, these exceptional pieces were formerly in the collection of Tang Shaoyi, the first premier of China.
Fine jades from American private collections feature choice objects from the Qianlong period. A very rare carved white jade three-ring armillary disk (hunyi), based upon an instrument of astronomical observation, tops the offerings at a conservative pre-sale estimate of $80,000-120,000.
A fine and impressive large spinach jade boulder, 18th/19th century from a Bay Area collection, features a continuous scene showing a contemplative scholar in an open hut enclosed by shattered peaks and pines. Offered at an estimate of $60,000-80,000, this massive boulder is showcased in more than 100 lots of fine jades to be sold. Other examples include a white jade brushpot, estimated at $60,000-90,000 from the collection of Harold E. Stack, and a fine archaistic carved jade libation vessel, 17th/18th century, formerly in the collection of Dr. Hugh Shire, and exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1975, as part of the Council of Great Britain and the Oriental Ceramic Society.
A rare limestone standing figure of a bodhisattva, Tang dynasty, from the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Foundation, highlights the early Chinese works of art offered in this session. The impressive figure, standing in tribhanga pose on a tiered lotus pedestal base, closely related in style to figures from Shaanxi province, has been in the family residence prior to 1970 and carries a pre-sale estimate of $100,000-150,000.
The 380 lot auction also features fine snuff bottles from a private San Francisco collection, Chinese robes and textiles from American collections, and scholar's objects and choice huanghuali furniture from the O'Brien collection of Asian art. Chinese paintings, featuring classical and modern works including Zhang Daqian, Huang Junbi and Qi Baishi will close the session.
The sale will be followed on June 25 by a 600-lot session of Asian Decorative Art.
To view the catalog for the sale on June 24, please visit www.bonhams.com/auctions/21772/.
Inquiries: For further information and images call Joalien Johnson at 415 503 3348
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
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