Christie’s Presents Leisurely Delights of a Transient Life

Christie’s is now gearing up for its Hong Kong spring auction which is starting this Friday. In Leisurely Delights of a Transient Life sale, it amasses an array of treasures ranging from jade, ceramics, bronzes and lacquer from different dynasties. The top three lots with highest estimates are either made by imperial orders or in official 'guan' kilns.

Leading the sale is an imperial yellow jade hanging vase and cover, Heting You. The “You” vase is 15.3cm high, carved with the reign mark in seal script on its base. It is estimated at HK$12m - 18m.

Bronze You

In the past, the You shape is commonly made of bronze, in a bulbous body together with a cover. The shoulders are flanked by a pair of loop handles enclosing an overarching rope twist handle. In the Shang dynasty, the vessel was used to keep wine. The present vase is in the shape of an archaic bronze You, carved on each side with a ram’s head in high relief.

The underside incised with three characters in seal script "yong bao yong" (to be eternally treasured’). Generally, that Qianlong “fanggu” ( fanggu means imitating the archaic works) reign marks are often applied to celadon jades, as an attempt to imitate archaic bronzes.

The current vase, modelled after the Zhou dynasty bronze You and carved out of gan huang yellow jade, is incised with a 'Qianlong nianzhi' reign mark instead. It is clearly not meant to be a faithful replica of an archaic object, but a novel work of art made by the esteemed carver Zhu Cai according to the specific wishes of the Qianlong Emperor.

Carrying the second highest price, an iron-red decorated blue and white ‘mythical sea creatures’ stem cup is inscribed with the six-character reign mark within a double circle. The 9.9cm-wide formerly belonged to Andrew L. and Amanda Adams Love Collection and was offered at Christie’s New York in 2005. It is now estimated at HK$10m-15m.

The present cup is an example testifying to the achievement during the Xuande reign, when the Imerial kilns produced some of the most innovative vessels using the combined technique of underglaze-blue painting and overglaze iron-red enamels. The cup and the solid stem foot are decorated in underglaze blue with twelve mythical sea creatures leaping amidst and above a ground of crested waves painted in iron red.

The third top lot is a pair of ‘guan’ inscribed ding square dishes, estimated at HK$8m-12m. Each dish is covered overall with a clear glaze except for the unglazed base incised with a 'guan' (official) mark.

During the late Tang to Five Dynasties period, Ding replaced Xing ware as the producer of the finest white ceramics. It was during this period that Ding wares began receiving the long-lasting patronage from the imperial court. The majority of guan-marked Ding wares are rounded bowls or dishes.

The form of present dishes is made to imitate gold and silver wares and the slip decorations are also reminiscent of high relief repoussé decoration on gold and silver wares.


Highlighted Lots from Leisurely Delights of a Transient Life

An Important and Extremely Rare Imperial Yellow Jade Hanging Vase and Cover, Heting You
Qianlong Incised Four-character Seal Mark and of the Period (1736-1795)

Lot no.: 2930
Height: 15.3 cm

  • The Jade Collector Gallery, Beverly Hills, 1994
  • The Harold E. Stack Collection of Chinese Jades

Estimate: HKD 12,000,000 - HKD 18,000,000

An Important and Extremely Rare Iron-red Decorated Blue and White ‘Mythical Sea Creatures’ Stem Cup
Xuande Six-Character Mark in Underglaze Blue within a Double Circle and of the Period (1426-1435)

Lot no.: 2946
Diameter: 9.9 cm

  • Andrew L. and Amanda Adams Love Collection, New York
  • Sold at Christie’s New York, 20 September 2005, lot 251

Estimate: HKD 10,000,000 - HKD 15,000,000

An Important and Very Rare Pair of ‘Guan’-Inscribed Ding Square Dishes
Five Dynasties-early Northern Song Dynasty, 10th Century

Lot no.: 2925
Diameter: 9.6 cm

  • Chang Wei-Hwa & Co., Taipei, 12 November 1992

Estimate: HKD 8,000,000 - HKD 12,000,000

A Rare Underglaze-blue and Copper-red Decorated Inscribed Brush Pot
Kangxi Six-Character Mark in Underglaze Blue and of the Period (1662-1722)

Lot no.: 2943
Diameter: 19.1cm
Estimate: HK$3,500,000 - 4,500,000

A Fine Blue and White Ming-style ‘Eight Treasures’ Stem Cup

Lot no.: 2940
Diameter: 9.4cm

  • Chang Collection, Chicago 
  • Goldschmidt Collection, sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 13 November 1990, lot 7
  • Sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 28 April 1993, lot 141

Estimate: HK$3,000,000 - 5,000,000

Auction details

Auction house: Christie’s Hong Kong
Sale: Leisurely Delights of a Transient Life
Preview: 2018/5/25|10:30am - 8pm
2018/5/26 - 29 |10:30am - 6:30pm
Auction: 2018/5/30|11:45am
Venue: Convention Hall, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre