We are very excited to unveil two absolutely remarkable Asian Art treasures in association with our upcoming Annual Winter Antique, Asian & Fine Art Auction which will be held on January 30th through February 1st, 2013. These exceptional lots are certain to be of great interest to fine arts enthusiasts around the world, as well as showcase our company and specialists as leaders in the important Asian Arts auction category.
The first item is a breathtaking Chinese rhinoceros horn libation cup from a Southern family estate. This absolute rarity, produced during the K’ang Hsi period (1662 to 1722) is in raft form with a hollow center, flat base, and elaborate carvings. There are only 18 known raft cups in existence. This cup rests on an equally magnificent zitan wood stand, which is nautically detailed with crashing waves. The cup itself is unique in two key ways. The first is its size. The piece measures 10 inches long and is considered quite large given that horn cups range in size from 8 to 13 inches. The second is its form. It features a lifelike rendition of Zhang Qian, (200 BCE to 114 BCE) the first official diplomat to travel to what is now known as the “Silk Road” and to bring back reliable information about Central Asia to the Chinese imperial court. He is accompanied by a bare breasted European woman. There is no other known example of a rhinoceros horn libation cup with this theme.
The second item is an important Korean palace longevity screen from the late Yi Dynasty period. It was a gift to the consignor’s grandfather, a diplomat, at the end of World War II. This 18th century piece consists of 10 silk panel screens which have been hand-painted with ink and mineral pigments. It measures 83 inches tall and 165 inches wide overall. The screen features an artist’s interpretation of the Gardens of Longevity. The scene pictures a blue and green stylized landscape, golden clouds, a bright red sun, a peaceful waterfall, and a meandering river. The design is deeply rooted in numerology, which is particularly evident with it animal inhabitants. These include several pairs of cranes, a herd of ten deer, and four mythical tortoises. In addition, two coral-red pine trees feature prominently in the forefront, suggesting that the artist was married. The inscription on the back reads, “Ten Panels for Long Life.”
These items were discovered through our Woburn, Massachusetts office, which was recently established to deliver first rate identification, valuation, and auction services to our customers in the Boston and southern New England areas. According to Woburn based Jim Callahan, our Director of Asian Arts and a regular on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow since 1996, “Both of these treasures are exceptional and absolute rarities. I have been a student, connoisseur, and appraiser of fine Asian Arts for over 40 years and have never seen anything like rhinoceros horn libation cup. Its form and subject until now were unknown. The Korean Palace Longevity Screen is simply breathtaking in its arrangement, color, and balance. It tells a magical story in the most fantastic way and I have not seen better examples in any of the world’s finest museums.”
For more information on our company’s Annual Winter Antique, Asian & Fine Art Auction, please visit www.jamesdjulia.com.