A large cast bronze figure of Guanyin from the late Ming dynasty, estimated between $100,000 and $150,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.
NEW YORK, NY.- Asia Week events at Bonhams kick off on Monday, September 15 with the Chinese Art from the Scholar’s Studio sale, which will feature a range of exciting highlights that include a number of notable objects.
One of these pieces is expected to attract strong interest—a large cast bronze figure of Guanyin from the late Ming dynasty, estimated between $100,000 and $150,000— and is a highly anticipated headliner of this sale. The figure measures 28 inches in height and is seated in dhyanasana on a double lotus pedestal. Guanyin, the embodiment of universal compassion, could take many forms in Buddhist art of the Ming dynasty, but is rarely depicted in this pose. In bronze, the deity most often appears as a single majestic figure enveloped in a cloak and seated in meditation on a lotus base. The large dimensions, excellent quality casting, esoteric iconography and the sophisticated rendering of the figure make this a very unusual and highly desirable sculpture.
Another top lot is a 40-inch ink scroll by Xu Beihong (1895-1953), one of the most popular 20th century Chinese artists. The scroll, dated 1943 and entitled “Horse and Willow,” is estimated at $150,000-200,000. It is inscribed with a dedication and portrays a horse with its neck turned, its mane and tail fluttering in the light breeze. A branch of a willow tree droops overhead. Xu Beihong studied art in Japan and Europe and returned to China in 1925 to become one of China’s most important painters and art educators, synthesizing European academic training with traditional Chinese media.
Xu Beihong (1895-1953), Horse and Willow, 1943. Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper, inscribed with a dedication to Zonghe, signed Beihong and dated guiwei(1943), with one artist’s seal reading Jiangnan buyi. 40 1/2 x 13in (103 x 33cm). Estimate $150,000-200,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.
Also featured in the sale is an album of paintings and calligraphy created in 1927 by a group of important artists, including Sanyu (1901-1966), Liu Huaisu (1896-1994), and Qian Shoutie (1896/7-1967). The album was a wedding present for two significant cultural figures from the pre-revolutionary Shanghainese literary beau monde—the poet Shao Xunmei (1906-1968) and his first cousin, the heiress Sheng Peiyu (1905-1988). The album’s estimate lies between $10,000 and $15,000.
Detail of an an album of paintings and calligraphy created in 1927 by a group of important artists, including Sanyu (1901-1966), Liu Huaisu (1896-1994), and Qian Shoutie (1896/7-1967). Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.
Additionally, the auction will offer a strong selection of Chinese snuff bottles with most from an important private New York collection. Excellent examples in amber, carved jade and enameled porcelain are sure to entice bidders in this popular collecting catagory. Highlights will include several bottles attributed to the Imperial Palace workshops and several outstanding inside painted pieces by artists such as Ye Zhongsan, Ma Shaoxuan and Wang Xisan.