Sales of antique Chinese rhinoceros horn items on the rise

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This pair of large recumbent enameled wood rams date from the mid 19th century. They are entirely decorated with auspicious animals and longevity motifs. They are estimated to sell for between $30,000 to $50,000.

BEVERLY, Mass – A Dec. 8-10, 2011 Asian arts and antiques auction will offer a rare Chinese rhinoceros horn Buddhist stupa, which is expected to sell for as much as $50,000. If recent sales are any indication that estimate is sure to be quickly surpassed.

Chinese rhinoceros horn Buddhist stupa, which is expected to sell for as much as $50,000.

The stupa (in this case a towered structure representing a trove of Buddhist relics) is of classical form with a circular stepped plinth supporting a double lotus throne with four seated Buddha, and a spiral carved with lotus petals surmounted by a tapered parasol.

It is widely expected to take top lot honors, followed closely by a strand of 19th century Chinese rhinoceros horn prayer beads, comprised of 108 beads interspaced with carved coral and ivory beads, with an overall length of 59 inches, which estimated at $20,000-$30,000. The two rhino horn lots are offered by Kaminski Auctions, which hopes to build on the success of its August Asian sale.

Other interesting entries in the sale include a pair of large recumbent enameled wood rams from mid 19th century. They are entirely decorated with auspicious animals  and longevity motifs. They are estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.

Important porcelain pieces in the sale include a Ming Dynasty blue and white bowl decorated with scrolling floral design, ruyi motif and Sanskrit characters estimated at $20,000-$30,000. Another highlight  of the auction is a collection of rose rose mandarin porcelain, including a pair of rose mandarin jars with covers, decorated with figures and auspicious emblems. Standing at 24 inches tall, they are estimated to bring $22,000-$26,000. Another is a pair of 18th century rose mandarin vases with square stemmed bases, decorated with figures in courtyard scenes.  They are estimated at $18,000-$21,000.

Sure to bring spirited bidding is a very large single rose medallion vase (34 inches tall) with a flared and scalloped rim and gilt handles in the form of twin foo dogs is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.

From the Qianlong Period (1736-1795), there is an exquisite set of semi-precious stone ornaments, featuring jade, jadeite, lapis, coral, seed pearls, and turquoise. Totaling sixteen pieces, the delicate ornaments are in their original fitted silk-lined box and are estimated at $20,000-$30,000.

A highly sought after item in the sale is a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) musical instrument.  The top is decorated with calligraphy and inlays of mother-of- pearl and stones depicting musicians .The hardware is of jade carved with the ruyi design. A similar instrument in the August Asian sale brought $64,000.

This auction also features unusual brush pots. One is Chinese late Ming to early Qing dynasty brushpot of natural tree root form that is estimated at $18,000-$25,000 and a Yongzheng Period (1722-1735) coconut brushpot of cylinder form carved with intricate scrolling floral motifs and a base carved with dragons and lotuses estimated at $15,000-$20,000.

There are also several antique Buddhist stone panels in the sale, including one with a rectangular base decorated with the head of a mythical beast flanked by two seated Bodhisattvas, with a central panel carved with a seated Buddh, valued at $20,000-$30,000.

From a private collection in California comes a pair of 19th century Chinese Lokapala guardians, carved of Shoushan stone estimated to bring $20,000-$30,000.

Antique paintings represented in the sale include a Ming Dynasty silk painting of a procession scene, estimated at $3,000 to $5,000, as well as an early Qing Dynasty landscape with calligraphy, signed and marked with two seals, valued at $10,000 to $20,000. Other highlights include  a Song Dynasty (960-1276) silk painting of fruits, as well as a 19th century scroll painting signed “Lin Liang”, of a pair of eagles perched high on a mountain, with an estimate of $4,000-7,000.

There will be over a dozen lots of remarkably carved Chinese stands and intricately carved jar covers from a private collection.  These stunning pieces were acquired from the Frank Caro Gallery, Madison Avenue, New York, and originally purchased by the renowned Asian art dealer, C.T. Loo.

Ching Tsai Loo was the preeminent dealer of Chinese art and artifacts for the first half of the twentieth century. Starting his business in Paris, C.T. Loo was almost single-handedly responsible for introducing early Chinese art—bronzes, jades, paintings—to the United States and Europe.

Because of Loo’s connections in Asia, he was able to obtain major pieces for such collectors as J. P. Morgan, Samuel Peters, Alfred Pillsbury, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Denman W. Ross, Richard E. Fuller and Henry Clay Frick.

By the early 1910’s he had became an established art dealer in Paris. In the mid-1910s, Loo moved the center of his business to the United States, specifically New York City, where he emerged as one of the top international dealers of Chinese art.

C.T. Loo was a collector as well as a connoisseur, publisher, exhibitioner, organizer, and patron of art. Fifty years after his death, these objects still grace many art museums including the Arthur M. Sacker Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the St. Louis Art Museum.

August Asian Highlights

In Kaminski’s August auction, wood stands from this important collection sold far above auction estimates and prices ranged from $1,700.00 to a high of $6,500 for a 19th century, carved sexfoil form wood censor stand with intricate foliate designs.  A 17th century wood vase cover with a jade finial in the form of Buddha’s hand symbolizing longevity and good fortune sold for $5,500. And a 19th century wood incense stand, the trefoil tiered form elaborately carved with scrolls and flowers sold for $4,500.

There are over a dozen lots of these prized stands and vase covers in the December Asian sale

There are over a dozen lots of these prized stands and vase covers in the December Asian sale, from the same private collector. Perhaps the most important lot is a pair of rosewood stands with pierced ruyi and scrolling foliate design estimated at $1,500-$2,000. There is also a rare Kangxi Period blue glazed hexagonal porcelain stand with a monster mask surmounting each of the six feet. It is estimated at $1,200-$1,500. This collection includes stands and covers made of zitan, carved teak wood, rosewood and porcelain. We anticipate considerable excitement and vigorous bidding for these extraordinary lots with such rich provenance.

To preview the full catalog or to register for Asian art and antiques sale, visit Kaminski Auctions.

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