Coral carving expected to rank high at Asian art auction

coral_phoenix_vase.jpgCINCINNATI – Cowan’s has announced its first auction dedicated solely to Asian art. The auction will be held over two days, Aug. 26-27, in Cowan’s salesroom. The auction will feature more than 790 lots including a wide selection of ivory, jade and porcelain, prints, Chinese furniture, scroll paintings, and reference material. Some of the highlights in the sale include a Chinese white jade vase, a Chinese Republic Period ivory wrist rest with polychrome insects, and a portrait of a Chinese military officer by illustrator Fred Craft.

Chinese, a lidded coral vase in the form of a phoenix
holding a branch in its beak, with a dragon lid
and rooster finial, all on 20th century wooden
stand; 7 inches high without stand.
Estimate: $12,000-$15,000.

Cowan’s will offer the Chinese white jade vase in the form of a Buddha’s hand, with pierced and carved peach decoration, which is estimated to sell at $20,000 to $30,000.

A Chinese Republic Period ivory wrist rest with polychrome insects is estimated to bring anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000. This carved double wrist rest, when closed, takes the form of a bamboo shaft. Cowan’s specialist Graydon Sikes notes, “This fine Republic Period ivory wrist rest is one fine example of nearly 150 lots of Chinese and Japanese carved ivory.”
A Chinese pair of cricket cages is estimated at $16,000 to $18,000; each cage features dragons and foliage designs.

A Chinese jade boulder is estimated to sell between $10,000 and $12,000. This boulder is carved on the front face with a series of pavilions, trees, foliage, and figures. The reverse is carved with trees and a pavilion on a fitted carved hardwood stand.
A Chinese coral figure of a man is estimated at $10,000 to $12,000; it depicts a standing man holding a peach branch on a 20th century wooden stand.

A glazed terra cotta horse attributed to the T’ang Dynasty is expected to sell for $5,000 to $7,000. The figure depicts a horse with a pale buff glaze along with nasturtium yellow glaze on the saddle and green glaze on the cloth.

A lot of five Chinese snuff bottles is estimated at $5,000 to $6,000; it includes a rock crystal snuff bottle carving of a Buddha’s hands, a silver snuff bottle with many foo lions in relief, a carved ivory snuff bottle with a figural courtyard scene on each side, a jadite snuff bottle with bamboo handles, and a square form inked ivory snuff bottle with a figural landscape and calligraphic text.

A portrait of a Chinese military officer by illustrator Fred Craft is expected to sell for $3,000 to $5,000.
A finely carved and polychromed Chinese ivory rickshaw is expected to sell for $2,000 to $2,500. This is a figural group including the rickshaw, female sitter, and a pair of horses on a 20th century stand with some elements of bone and elaborately painted.

A pair of Indian miniatures of Mumtaz Mahal, watercolor on ivory is estimated at $2,000 to $3,000. This pair depicts Mumtaz Mahal, the empress of India during the Mughal dynasty. Mumtaz Mahal was the name given to the Persian princess Arjumand Banu Begum, the third wife of Shah Janan. A Shia Muslim, Mumtaz Mahal died during childbirth in 1631. In memory of her, Shan Jana built the Taj Mahal from 1632-1653 as a mausoleum for his beloved wife.


A Chinese white jade scholar’s screen is estimated to sell for $1,500 to $2,000; it has four rectangular white jade plaques carved on one side with figures and pagodas in a mountainous landscape, the reverse is incised with two seals and a tree, and the plaque is fitted within a carved zitan wood stand.

A Chinese carved 20th century rosewood cabinet is estimated at $800 to $1,200; this cabinet has a carved jade landscape and pierced side walls.

Cowan’s has been helping individuals and institutions build important collections for more than a decade. The company’s four divisions of American History, American Indian and Western Art, American and European Fine and Decorative Art, and Historic Firearms & Early Militaria hold semi-annual cataloged sales that routinely set records for rare offerings.

Through its mailing list of more than 35,000 collectors, dealers and institutional clients, each Cowan’s auction typically attracts more than 1,000 bidders from across the globe.

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