BEVERLY, Mass. – Chinese porcelain starred at Kaminski Auctions’ August Fine Asian Art and Antiques sale, with a circa 1925, 20 inches by 9 ½ inches high vase painted in the traditional style of artist Wang Shigu of finely painted mountains selling for $152,100 as the top lot in the three day sale.
The audience was filled with familiar faces of Asian collectors and dealers who brought great drama and excitement to the sale. In addition, telephone and Internet bidding from China was fast and furious over all three days.
One of the many attractions on offer was an excellent collection of snuff bottles from a private collector in Florida. In particular, an imperial 18th-19th century enameled ovoid form snuff bottle with a vignette of mother and child on each side, surrounded by a gold floral design, brought $74,880.
Bidding on the floor was also brisk for a rare 19th century gu zeng, one of the oldest Chinese musical instruments, with mother-of pearl fret markers and markings on the back that finally sold for $74,880 to a dealer in the audience.
Leading the sales of Chinese paintings was a Ming dynasty (1368-1644) scroll depicting a Chinese landscape with figures, and having two Ming seals that sold for $36,270. A signed painting of many fishes by the famous 20th century Chinese painter Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010) sold for $17,550. A portfolio of sketches by the same artist, dedicated to Alice Boney, set a record when it sold for over $300,000 in Kaminski’s April 2011 Asian auction.
Huanghuali objects continued to bring high prices as a 3 ½ inches by 18 inches by 6 inches, 19th-century huanghuali box with two scholars playing chess and inlaid with jade, mother-of-pearl, and stone reached $18,720.
Several items from the Qianlong period brought the top prices in the sale. A single famille-rose jar with the six character Qianlong mark on the base and decorated with lotus scrolls on a turquoise ground sold for $23,400, while a cloisonné censor with a five character Qianlong mark and a compressed round body with upright loop handles on tripod feet fetched $23,400.
A wonderful yellow glazed bowl from the Yongzheng Period (1723-1735), with a continuous incised image of children at play encircling the exterior and with a six character period mark on the base sold for $35,100.
Objects from the Republic Era, which are sought after by collectors in the current market, also reached remarkable prices. A pair of famille-rose vases from the Republic Period, with the Qianlong mark on the base, reached $22,230. They were of baluster form and superbly decorated with nine dragons in relief, amid clouds and fire over undulating waves. While a small carved ivory figurine in original color of a girl tending a peach tree from the same period brought $7,020.
The catalog cover lot was a 19th-century ivory standing figure of Bi Gan, the civic god of wealth. The imposing figure was 30 inches tall and stood atop a custom carved wooden base. Dressed in the traditional civic officer’s hat and robe and holding a scepter, the figure’s garments were beautifully carved and incised in great detail. It sold for a hammer price of $11,700.
Several lots from the collection of Henry Francis Thompson of Naples, Florida did particularly well. Thompson was an importer of oriental rugs and co-founder of Bolletin and Thompson Oriental Rugs. He was a great collector of Asian art and antiques, and acquired many of his pieces on his round the world trips prior to World War I and between 1900-1920. The items in this auction were left to his son Charles Rose Thompson, a graduate of Princeton University, and many of the pieces were displayed at the Princeton University Art Museum.
An impressive 18th century Jun vase from the collection sold for $16,380. The vase had a bulbous body surmounted by a bamboo-form neck covered with a rich jun glaze, fading to cream at the mouth and stood on a custom wooden base.
Bidding was hot and heavy for every lot of an important collection of handmade carved wooden stands. The beautifully carved stands, each a work of art in itself, were consigned by a private collector. Originally purchased by the well-known New York Asian dealer C. T. Loo, after World War II. These rare and exquisitely carved stands were handmade to display prized pieces of porcelain, jade, and bronze works of art.
Other highlights include several rhinoceros horn libation cups, which brought between $10,000-$12,000, and a 19th-century Chinese gilt wood Buddha that fetched $23,400.
The top Japanese lot of the sale consisted of three impressive Japanese bronze figures, finely cast and each attached to a rectangular base with dragons in relief. The figures 11 inches high by 8 ½ inches wide by 3 ½ inches deep sold for $14,040. All prices realized include 17 percent buyer’s premium.
Kaminski Auctions will be holding a one-day Asian sale on Oct 14th, 2011 followed by a two-day estate auction on Oct 15th and 16th. The next Kaminski Chinese and Fine Asian Art auction is planned for December 3-5, 2011 at Kaminski’s gallery in Beverly, Mass.