In our previous article, The Value team paid a visit to an antique store Sen Shu Tey in Ginza and talked to Oshima Chiaki, the master of the store. Oshima has been working as an art dealer for more than four decades. One of the great pieces of art that she has handled will be offered as the star lot at the spring sales at Christie's New York. We take this opportunity to talk to Oshima about the Black Ding 'Partridge Feather' Bowl, a Northern Song treasure from Linyushanren Collection.
Oshima Chiaki, the master of Sen Shu Tey
A Black Ding ‘Partridge Feather’ Conical Bowl, Northern Song Dynasty
Lot no.: 506
- Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Bernat.
- Sotheby Parke Bernet New York, 7 November 1980, lot 91.
- The Manno Art Museum, Osaka, no. 434.
- Christie's Hong Kong, 28 October 2002, lot 515.
- Sen Shu Tey, Tokyo.
Estimate Upon Request (The Value has learnt the estimate to be US$4m)
Q: Can you tell us about this Ding ware?
Oshima: I once visited an exhibition in Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo, with my friend Linyushanren (a seasoned Japanese collector specialising in Song ceramics). I saw that Ding ware and said to him, "What a fine, rare piece that Song antique collectors must own.” The ding ware went up for auction at Christie’s Hong Kong in 2002. I said to Linyushanren, “That ding ware is the best in the world”. But he didn’t listen.
Oshima (continue): The next day, we travelled to the National Palace Museum in Taipei. We saw another piece similar to the ding ware but the one that we saw in Hong Kong was way better. So we went back to Hong Kong and we bought the piece after an intense bidding battle with a Taiwanese.
Collection of National Palace Museum, Taipei
Linyushanren is a renowned Japanese collector whose real identity has remained a mystery. Having worked as a consultant to faciliate the formation of Linyushanren collection for over 20 years, Ms. Oshima sheds light on appreciating the unique Ding ware.
Q: How should we appreciate it?
Oshima: The name “Linyushanren” was inspired by this ding ware, which is like a spaceship bringing us to the vast universe. When you look at it, it's like we are greeted by countless stars all around us.
Oshima (continue): And the oil spot is like shooting stars, coming after us from far away. The shape is like an umbrella spreading out from a tiny spot while drawing us inside.
Q: What about its rarity?
Oshima: The two ding wares, one in National Palace Museum and one owned by Linyushanren, have no red dots in the middle. It is very rare. They are in complete black. The colour is dense, almost like paint. I think it’s the most beautiful black ding ware in the world. It was a rare opportunity that we found it at Christie’s Hong Kong in 2002. It is now on the market again, possibly our last chance to see this ware in public.
Linyushanren decided to focus on collecting Song treasures under the influence by Oshima, who has been passionate and knowledgeable about Song ceramics.
Q: Why are you particularly fond of Song ceramics?
Oshima: Song ceramics are classy, elegant, epitomizing the authority and majesty of the emperors. Produced to the finest quality, Song ceramics stand out from ceramics from other periods, and other parts of the world.
Oshima (continue): Moreover, some ceramic wares had paintings on them. But when we focus on the people or story painted on the wares, we forgot that the shape and colours of the ware are what matter most. Therefore, the simplicity in Song ceramics shows all the great features that a ceramic work should have.
Auction house: Christie's New York
Sale: The Classic Age of Chinese Ceramic — An Exhibition of Song Treasures from the Linyushanren Collection
Lots offered: 42