Highlights of Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art at Christie’s London

Christie’s London is going to hold its sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on 7 November. Here is a preview of eight highlighted pieces, each carrying an estimate above £100,000.

The leading lot is a pair of Huanghuali Horseshoe-back Armchairs from Ming dynasty, 17th Century. Once belonged to a prominent dealer of Chinese furniture Grace Wu Bruce (image above), this pair of armchairs carries an estimate of £800,000 – 1,200,000 (USD 1,060,000 - 1,590,000). The present pair is among eight known and published chairs of this design. On each chair, the sweeping crest rail terminates in outswept hooks above shaped spandrels, and forms an elegant curve above the back splat decorated with an openwork four-lobed cartouche.

Several features distinguish this pair: the elegant curve of the crest rail, the exceptionally well-carved sweeping hook handles, the three-part backsplat with finely carved openwork panel, and the beautifully figured huanghuali panels.

The second one is a Famille Rose Blue and White ‘Nine Peaches’ Vase, carrying an estimate of £300,000 – 500,000 (USD 397,500 - 662,500). It was made from Wang Bu, one of the second generation of porcelain painters at Jingdezhen.

Blue and White “Four Seasons” Panels by Wang Bu was sold for RMB 27m at Poly Auction Beijing in 2011.

In general cases, ceramics from the period of Republic of China (1912-1949) are less valuable than those produced in the imperial kilns of Ming or Qing dynasties. Interestingly, Wang Bu’s works have been highly sought after by collectors in mainland China. One of his works, Blue and White “Four Seasons” panels, fetched RMB 27m (US$4m) at Poly Auction Beijing in 2011.

The following lot is an imperial ivory figure of a seated lady from Qianlong period (1736 – 1795), carrying an estimate of £200,000 – 300,000 (USD 265,000 - 397,500). This carved figure of an Asian lady in flowing Western dress is a rare example of a three-dimensional sculpture based on a painting.

The lady is believed to be Xiang Fei, the “Fragrant Concubine”. Many legends have grown up about Xiang Fei, and these have inspired a wealth of romantic literature and drama. Current scholarship suggests that Xiang Fei may most probably be identified as the historical figure Rong Fei, Qianlong's only Uighur Muslim concubine, whose family were a branch the Khoja line.


Lots carrying estimates above £100,000

An Extremely Rare and Important Pair of Huanghuali Horseshoe-back Armchairs, Quanyi. Ming dynasty, 17th Century.

Lot no.: 150
Size: 68 x 53.3 x 91.5cm (each)

  • With Grace Wu Bruce.
  • Property from a Distinguished Private Collection.

Estimate: £800,000 - 1,200,000 (USD 1,060,000 - 1,590,000)

A Famille Rose Blue and White 'Nine Peaches' Vase. Wang Bu (1898-1968).

Lot no.: 262
Height: 37cm

  • Private German Collection, amassed in the mid-20th century.
  • Phillips, London, 12th November 2001, lot 159.
  • The collection of Peter Wain, London.

Estimate: £300,000 - 500,000 (USD 397,500 - 662,500)

A Rare Pair of Huanghuali Horseshoe-back Armchairs, Quanyi. 17th-18th Century.

Lot no.: 146
Size: 67.3 x 49 x 98.5cm (each)
Property from a Distinguished Private Collection.
Estimate: £200,000 - 400,000 (USD 265,000 - 397,500)

A Very Fine and Rare Imperial Ivory Figure of a Seated Lady, Probably an Imperial Consort. QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795).

Lot no.: 114
Height: 25.4cm

  • Collection of Mrs. Frank Lewis Hough.
  • Christie’s London, 15 May 2007, lot 61.
  • Property of an Important Private Asian Collector

Estimate: £200,000 - 300,000 (USD 265,000 - 530,000)

A Rare Huanghuali Recessed-leg Painting Table, Hua’an. Ming Dynasty, 17th Century.

Lot no.: 148
Size: 174.6 x 57.5 x 84cm

  • With Grace Wu Bruce.
  • Property from a Distinguished Private Collection.

Estimate: £200,000 - 300,000 (USD 265,000 - 397,500)

A Massive and Magnificent Five-panel Huali 'dragon' Throne Screen. 19th Century.

Lot no.: 187
Size: 252.8 x 299.8 x 61.6cm
Estimate: £120,000 - 180,000 (USD 159,000 - 238,500)

A Very Rare Large Bronze Ceremonial Bell. Dated the Sixth Year of Zhengde Corresponding to 1512 and of the Period (1506-1521).

Lot no.: 192
Height: 92.8cm

  • Acquired in the First Half of the 20th Century, Then by Descent Within the Family.
  • Property of a Noble Scottish Gentleman

Estimate: £120,000 - 180,000 (USD 159,000 - 238,500)

A Tiger-maple Four-poster Canopy Bed, Jiazichuang.

Lot no.: 190
Size: 229.9 x 223.3 x 141cm

  • The Gangolf Geis Collection of Fine Chinese Furniture, Christie's New York, 18 September 2003, lot 28.
  • The Francisco Capelo collection.

Estimate: £100,000 - 150,000 (USD 132,500 - 198,750)

Auction details

Auction house: Christie’s London
Sale: Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art
No. of lot: 362
2017/11/3|10am - 4:30pm
2017/11/4|12pm - 5pm
2017/11/5|12pm - 8pm
2017/11/6|9am - 4:30pm
2017/11/7|10:30am (Lot 1 – 150)
2017/11/7|2pm (Lot 151 – 362)