Pax Romana’s March 7 auction explores Chinese decorative art for interiors, from Qing Empire through 20th century
Featured: Beautiful porcelains, white jade figure of Buddha, Sino-Tibetan bronze Guan Yin, bronze seated Buddha holding sword aloft, iron-red foo dog dragons
LONDON – Internationally acclaimed for its auctions of connoisseur-level antiquities, ancient jewelry and weaponry, Pax Romana will add a new string to its bow on March 7 with the debut of Asian Interiors: Chinese Decorative Arts. The 243-lot sale of hand-picked, fully vetted Chinese porcelain and art focuses on exquisite decorative treasures that add color and sophistication to the home, with a timeline that starts with the Qing Dynasty and concludes in the 20th century. All items are being offered with no reserve and will be sold to the highest bidder at or above the starting price. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
“Since the 17th century, Chinese vases, censers and accent pieces have been favored as decorative elements in fine European and American homes,” said Pax Romana’s director Dr. Ivan Bonchev (PhD, University of Oxford). “That tradition is still very much alive today. Whether the theme of a room or entire residence is Art Deco, traditional or very modern, there’s a piece of Chinese art to complement its look and feel. While making the final selections for our March 7 auction, we made every effort to choose striking artworks that would suit any decorating taste. Chinese art is truly a design classic.”
Chinese vases are admired for their graceful symmetry and hand-painted detail work. Several exceptional examples are entered in the auction, and like many items from other categories, they come from estate collections in the United Kingdom or Continental Europe, or in some cases were acquired decades ago at upscale antique fairs.
A pair of large Chinese porcelain vases decorated with elaborate scenes and calligraphy, each measuring 600mm high by 250mm wide, are offered with a lot estimate of £600-£900. Another appealing entry is a Chinese porcelain vase decorated with dragons and an imaginative red, green and white botanical motif. The 355mm high by 165mm wide vase carries an affordable estimate of £200-£300.
Executed in a gorgeous pale blue shade, a collection of three Chinese celadon porcelain vessels includes two bowls with a deeply ribbed decoration and a distinctive, long-neck bottle vase. The trio is ready to impress on auction day with a group estimate of £300-£500.
Who needs a home security system when a pair of large, finely modeled Chinese iron-red porcelain “foo dog dragons” are on duty? The delightful duo offered as Lot 249 characterize the intimidating, lion-like mythical creatures also known as “komainu” or “shishi” and represent prosperity, success and guardianship. They are typically used in feng shui as the ultimate sign of protection. Sized 450mm high by 600mm wide, the fearsome pair will cross the auction block with expectations of reaching £600-£900.
An elaborately carved white jade figure of Buddha in meditation measures 260mm high by 205mm wide and is presented on a contrasting carved wooden stand. This exceptional statuette a highly coveted shade of pale white jade is expected to realize £2,000-£3,000.
A very different depiction of the Buddha (or Bodhisattva) is seen in Lot 187. The gilt-bronze figurine depicts the seated spiritual leader with a sword held up to his head. Its size is 370mm high by 300mm wide, and its catalogue estimate is £1,000-£2,000.
One of the most highly prized pieces in the sale is a Sino-Tibetan bronze figure of a Guan Yin – the Chinese female interpretation of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. She is seated in rajalilasana and wears heavy robes, jewelry and a pierced crown that features a diminutive figure of Buddha, specifically Jina Amithaba, the spiritual father of Guan Yin. Also incorporated into the bronze artwork is a snow lion with a finely engraved mane and tail. Measuring 450mm high by 270mm wide, the figure weighs 11kg (24lbs 4 oz) and is estimated at £2,000-£3,000.
Ranging from bronze statuettes to delicately painted vases and intricate stone carvings, the selection of art available in Pax Romana’s March 7 auction elegantly reflects the core genres of Chinese art that have been admired for centuries across the world. The auction will start at 8 a.m. US Eastern time/1 p.m. GMT (UK time). White-glove in-house packing and worldwide shipping are handled exclusively by Pax Romana staff. View the fully illustrated catalogue and sign up to bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. Questions: Call Pax Romana, London, on +44 7424 994167 or email [email protected]. Online www.paxromana.auction.