China Guardian HK's decaversary sales raked in a record total at US$97.2 million

China Guardian Hong Kong's 10th anniversary auctions concluded on 9 October with impressive results.

With 15 sales in four catergories, the sale total reached HK$763 million (around US$97.2 million), a record high for the house. A total of eleven lots sold for over HK$10 million and five white-glove sales were achieved.  

Below is a summary of the auction house’s results this season:

Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art Department | Sale Total: HK$177.1 million (around US$22.5 million)

Lot 38 | Yayoi Kusama | Gold Infinity Nets, Acrylic on canvas
Created in 2015
145.5 × 145.5 cm

  • Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo
  • Acquired directly by present important private Asian collector from the above

Estimate: HK$12,000,000 - 22,000,000
Sold: HK$48,630,000 (around US$6.2 million)

Lot 100 | Yoshitomo Nara | O.T (Untitled), Acrylic on canvas
Created in 1993
150 × 100 cm

  • Gallery d'Eendt, Amsterdam
  • Private Collection, Amsterdam
  • Private Collection, Asia
  • 29 May 2016, Seoul Auction Hong Kong Spring Auction, Lot 39
  • Important Private Collection, Asia

Estimate: HK$23,000,000 - 35,000,000
Sold: HK$26,970,000 (around US$3.4 million)

Lot 83 | Wang Huaiqing | Red Thread (Diptych), Oil on canvas
Created in 2008
200 × 120 cm

  • Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei
  • Acquired directly by present important private Asian collector from the above

Estimate: HK$16,000,000 - 25,000,000
Sold: HK$21,210,000 (around US$2.7 million)

The Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art Sale pulled in a strong sale total of HK$177.1 million (around US$22.5 million) with a sell-through rate of 85%. 

The leading lot of the sale was Yayoi Kusama's Gold Infinity Nets, which saw competitive bidding that drove prices well above estimate to HK$48.6 million (around US$6.2 million). Infinity net is one of the most well-known motifs developed by Kusama in her artistic career and involved her creating an almost ritualistically repetitive technique. The present lot is one of the only five gold net with black background pieces that have ever gone under the hammer and is the largest among them. 

Other top performing lots include Yoshitomo Nara's O.T (Untitled), which features the artist's signature young girl with piercing eyes. After fees, it sold for HK$26.9 million (around US$3.4 million) to become the sale's first runner-up. The second runner-up was a large diptych, Red Thread, by Wang Huaiqing, a Chinese painter best known for his abstract paintings of disassembled furniture. A total of seven bids propelled its hammer price to HK$18 million. After fees, it pulled in HK$21.2 million (US$2.7 million). 

Ceramics and Works of Art Department | Sale Total: HK$303.5 million (around US$2.7 million)

Lot 1522 | An archaic jade 'face mask' cong
Height: 7.9 cm

  • The Zanjixuan Collection, Taipei, acquired prior to 1999

Estimate: HK$2,000,000 - HK$2,500,000
Sold: HK$16,530,000 (around US$2.1 million)

Lot 1525 | An archaic celadon jade coiled dragon
Height: 8.9 cm

  • The Zanjixuan Collection, Taipei, acquired prior to 1999

Estimate: HK$2,200,000 - 2,800,000
Sold: HK$10,914,000 (around US$1.4 million)

Lot 1101 | A carved celadon-glazed 'dragon' lantern vase
Qianlong six-character sealmark and of the period (1736-1795)
Height: 44 cm

  • John Sparks Ltd., London (label and recorded in the collection archives)
  • Ted and Gladys collection (by repute)
  • A Welsh private collection (descendants of Ted and Gladys)

Estimate: HK$5,000,000 - 7,000,000
Sold: HK$10,329,000 (around US$1.3 million)

Over 800 lots of nine sales presented by Ceramics and Works of Art department achieved a combined total of HK$303.5 million (around US$2.7 million), marking a new record high for this category at China Guardian Hong Kong. 

The sale of Masterpieces of Ancient Chinese Jades: The Zan Ji Xuan Collection performed the most remarkably. With robust biddings, all 73 lots offered were sold and the sale total came to over HK$83.7 million (around US$10.6 million), among which two lots managed to reach the HK$10 million mark.

The first was an archaic jade 'face mask' cong, hammering for seven times its low estimate and fetched HK$16.5 million (around US$2.1 million) after fees to become the crowning lot of the department. The Liangzhu culture in the Yangtze River Delta, which flourished from the late 4th to the end of the 3rd millennium BC, was one of the most prominent Neolithic Chinese civilisations. Among the large variety of Liangzhu artefacts, cong stand out as iconic of this culture and were made for the most prestigious ranks in society. Its honorable status continues up to the present, where it could said to be of blue-chip status in the archaic jade market. 

The other was an archaic celadon jade coiled dragon, selling for HK$10.9 million (around US$1.4 million) and was the department's second most expensive lot. The third most expensive lot went to a carved celadon-glazed 'dragon' lantern vase offered at the Imperial Appreciation: Magnificent Treasures from the Court Sale, selling for HK$10.3 million (US$1.3 million) after fees. 

Classical Chinese Furniture Department | Sale Total: HK$69.2 million (around US$8.8 million)

Lot 2049 | Zitan and red lacquered high-waisted throne
Created during middle Qing period (1636 - 1911)
109 x 83.5 x 109.8 cm
Estimate: HK$6,000,000 - 10,000,000
Sold: HK$36,090,000 (around US$4.6 million)

Lot 2010 | Huanghuali four-post canopy bed
Created during late Ming period (1368 - 1644)
207 x 111 x190 cm
Estimate: HK$12,000,000 - 22,000,000
Sold: HK$14,190,000 (around US$1.8 million)

For the sale of Classical Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynaties, 33 of the 52 lots offered were sold, generating a sale total of HK$69.2 million (around US$8.8 million).

Among them, two works realised more than HK$10 million. The first was a red lacquered throne made of zitan from middle Qing period (1636 - 1911). Far surpassing its estimate, the lot achieved HK$36 million (around US$4.6 million) to become the top lot after an exhilarating bidding battle.

Highly prized and sought-after, zitan is one of the rarest and most precious woods in the world. The density of zitan wood makes it especially suitable for fine and intricate carving. A seat for the Emperor, the present lot was carved with five-clawed dragons, which was a symbol of supreme power. 

The first runner-up went to a Huanghuali four-post canopy bed from late Ming period (1368 - 1644). After fees, it garnered HK$14.1 million (around US$1.8 million).

Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy Department | Sale Total: HK$213.1 million (around US$27.2 million)

Lot 346 | Wu Guanzhong | Village in Guizhou, Ink and colour on paper
Created in 1992
90 x 95 cm
Estimate: HK$18,000,000 - 28,000,000
Sold: HK$21,210,000 (around US$2.7 million)

Lot 288 | Huang Binhong | Landscape, Ink and colour on paper
Ink and colour on paper
135 x 64 cm
Estimate: HK$4,000,000 - 6,000,000
Sold: HK$18,870,000 (around US$2.4 million)

Lot 903 | Wang hui, Yun Shouping | Landscape after Juran, Ink and colour on silk
119 x 48 cm
Estimate: HK$200,000 - 500,000
Sold: HK$10,914,000 (around US$1.4 million)

Three sales pulled in HK$213.1 million (around US$27.2 million) for the Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy Department. The first and third sales, Fine Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy, realised a sell-through rate of nearly 75% with a sale total of HK$187 million; while the second sale which was dedicated to the collection Fo Sa Lou saw a white-glove result, having sold all 166 lots offered and brought in HK$26.1 million. 

Wu Guanzhong's Village in Guizhou was the most expensive lot, which landed HK$21.2 million (around US$2.7 million). Hailed as Three Musketeers of Chinese Modern Art alongside Zao wou-ki and Chu Teh-chun, Wu Guanzhong is known to be the pioneer of their generation and to interweave traditional Chinese paintings with Western abstractionism. In the category of Chinese ink, his colorful paintings transcend exuberance amongst sceneries, providing stability and vivacity. In this work he depicts a village in Guizhou, a mountainous province in Southwest China.

Apart from the top lot, two other works also sold for over HK$10 million – Huang Binhong's Landscape, and Wang hui and Yun Shouping's Landscape after Juran. Both lots had seen intense biddings and were competed for multiples times exceeding their pre-sale estimates to become the sales' second and third most expensive lots.

Huang Binhong's Landscape, carrying a low estimate of HK$4 million, fetched HK$18 million (around US$2.4 million); while Wang hui and Yun Shouping's Landscape after Juran sold for HK$10.9 million (around US$1.4 million), five times its low estimate of HK$200,000.