Gianguan Auctions to offer devotional art, bronze, jade and ceramic statues

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Lot 34 Northern Wei, A Very Rare Jade Carving of Sakyamuni Maitreya Seated on a Plinth.
Lot 34 Northern Wei, A Very Rare Jade Carving of Sakyamuni Maitreya Seated on a Plinth.

NEW YORK, NY.-Gianguan Auctions, known for two decades for offering Chinese religious art at accessible estimates, is poised to present an outstanding collection of devotional art, bronze, jade and ceramic statues in its Saturday, August 29 sale.

With devotional art an integral part of the Chinese ethic and highly popular among western practitioners of Buddhism and yoga, Lot 27 is an exceptional offering. A Rare Northern Wei Dynasty seated Bodhisattva, with Crossed Ankles. The face with elongated eyes and serene expression, wearing a long flowing robe cascading over the pedestal-tiered base, leaving the feet exposed and crossed at the ankles, backed by a mandorla incorporating an ovoid aureole carved with lotus petals, the base flanked by two ferocious lions. This powerful figure captures the sculptural style of the Wei period: the serene expression of the delicately featured face, hands adopting the gestures (mudrās) ‘fear-not’ and ‘charity offering’ and the parallel folds of drapery. Est. $15,000 – $20,000.

Buddha of carved jade, one of the hardest stones to work, finds a niche in the sale as well. Lot 34, Northern Wei, A Very Rare Jade Carving of Sakyamuni Maitreya Seated on a Plinth.

Carved seated in dhyanasana, with right hand raised in abhaya mudra and left hand in varda mudra, wearing robes falling in loose folds around the body. The face with long thin nose and full lips drawn in a tender smile, the eyes cast downward in serene contemplation, all framed by elongated earlobes and prominently carved swirling pattern usnisa topknot. Supported on a rectangular plinth carved with lions in the front and a Buddha on each side. Est. $7,000 – $10,000.

From the unifying Sui period comes a gilt-bronze altarpiece of Buddha Maitreya, Lot 40, A free-standing piece with drapery, extending stalks branching in an arch form, with a Buddha sitting atop of the lotus throne, there are altogether seven of them. Seven Buddhas began on the Great Tower of Ashoka, side by side with seven linden or seven towers. In the Northern Wei Dynasty and the Liao and Jin Dynasties seven Buddha statues were very popular at the time and this altar piece reflects the period’s distinct character. The central Maitreya is finely cast and shown seated in dhyanasana with left foot projecting from the hem of the loosely draped folds of the robe. The hands are held in karanamudra, with the right hand raised and the left resting on the left knee. The robes fall in curved diagonal folds exposing the left shoulder and left arm. The face has well-defined, arched brows above elongated, almond-shaped eyes and is framed by the pierced, pendulous ear lobes and the neat edge of the hair, which is arranged in tight curls that continue onto the low domed ushnisha. Flanked on each side with a Bodhisattva above the drapery and complete with a flame-shaped aureole, seated on a lotus throne atop a two-tiered openwork plinth. Compare to similar one at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, Bronze Dedicatory Group of Buddha Amitabha surrounded by attendants and the one at Met Museum, Northern Wei, A Rare Gilt Bronze Altarpiece Dedicated to Buddha Maitreya. Est. $20,000 – $30,000.

Qing, A Rare and Fine Tianqi Polychrome Lacquer Painted Lobed Lotus BaJixiang Box and Cover, Lot 168. Anonymous artisans using the polychrome Tianqi filled-in color technique, finely incised the top of the box and colored with a central pod of Lotus bloom surrounded by scrolling Ba Jixiang (Eight Buddhist Emblems) picked out in shades of red, turquoise blue, burnt amber and green, all on a red lacquer ground, encircled with classic key-fret band. The sixteen lobes are decorated with gilt phoenixes in flight amidst cloud. The interiors and base lacquered black. Est. $8,000 – $15,000.

Ceramic highlights include Lot 131, a Qing, A Pair of Refined Famille-Rose Square Floral Bowls. Of Square section with tapering sides and canted corners, both interior and exterior are enamelled with stems of peony, lotus, chrysanthemum and plum blossom. Painted at the interior well, peach and pomegranate. A classic key fret scroll band decorated the rim and scrolling foliage band at the base, with imperial seal mark. Est. $10,000 – $15,000.

The remarkable staying power of blue and white ceramics is evidenced by Lot 128, a massive Blue and White Figurative Jardiniere from Qing Dynasty, Lot 128. Robustly potted with rounded sides rising to an everted rim, the exterior decorated with frieze of lotus scrolls, ruyi and lappet borders all between continuous scenes of court ladies at leisure. Est. $3,000 – $5,000

Masterworks of carved Jade, A Set of 4 Archaistic Jade Sword Ornaments, Lot 81 : Pommel Insert; Sword Guard; Scabbard Chape and Scabbard Slide. Each carved in high relief with archaistic Chilongs, accompanied by young, sinuous with head turned and twisting body supported on muscular limbs, on the front side and some with angular scrolls on the back. The dark jade ornaments with russet calcifications. Est. $4,000 – $5,000.

Han, A Rare and Finely Carved Twinlinked Jade Vase with Qilins, Lot 76. Composed of a pair of well hollowed jade cylinders decorated with relief carved qilins and incised with ruyi scrolls, joining. Each cylinder fitted with a cover carved with coiling qilins. The lower body and the sides of the vessel have swirling bosses. Said ritual wine vessel is commonly used in wedding ceremony. Est. $15,000 – $20,000.

Another marquee properties is a Super Large Jade Boulder with Guanyin in Grotto, Lot 54, exquisitely carved in high relief with Guanyin sitting in enclave holding a large ruyi scepter, with an accolade set within a mountainous landscape, surrounded by pine trees and pavilions. The reverse with similar pine and rocky outcrop. The stone with amber inclusions. Est. $15,000 – $20,000.

Contemporary works that bring modern techniques to bear on traditional subjects include a painting by Gao Jianfu, Lot 53 Figure, who integrated Western representational and coloristic effects techniques with Chinese ones in this figurative portrayal. Est. $15,000 – $20,000.

Among the decorative items and a favorite of Gianguan regulars are teapots, Zisha clay, from Yixing, prized for their absorption properties that add subtlety to flavors, have long held appeal. Another collectible is the Chinese seals of Shoushan, Furong and Tianhuang stone. All of excellent values with starting prices of $300 to $500.

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