Chinese Buddhist Frescos And Modern Paintings Highlight Gianguan Auctions' December 9 Sale

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Chinese Buddhist art, a staple of the Freer Museum of Art collection, leads Gianguan Auctions' mixed sale of classic and modern Chinese paintings, Zisha teapots and stone seals. Live previews begin December 1 and continue through December 8.

As China's renaissance continues to be felt around the world, Gianguan Auctions brings storied items that reflect the country's rich heritage to the podium on December 9. The collections of Buddhist art, Chinese ceramics and seals are primarily by anonymous and court artisans. The modern paintings and Zisha teapots are by sought after artists and potters, complete with signatures and seals.

Chinese Buddhist art, a favorite of collectors since the days of Charles Lang Freer, founder of the Freer Museum of Art in Washington, DC, plays a significant role in the auction. The lead item is a Song Dynasty fresco depicting Water-Moon Guanyin, or Avalokiteshvara of the Southern Seas. She is beautifully robed, an allusion to the bodhisattva's mortal ties. Seated on rockery, wearing an elaborate headdress with gilt highlights, and backed by a double mandorla, the painter's craft is still evident in the remaining mineral pigment. The garments bear traces of thread relief. The framed frescoe is 4 feet tall. It is suitable for a religious institution or a private collector. A similar Ming Dynasty fresco can be seen at The Fahai Temple located at the foot of Cuiwei Mount. This is Lot 38, valued at more than $40,000.

The marquee ceramics offering is a copper-red underglaze Buddhist prayer bowl. Its interior is dominated by a large Lanca character set in an overall pattern of script. Of the Ming dynasty, with the Xuande six-character double circled mark, the bowl is 7-inches in diameter and just 3-inches tall. It is Lot 109, worthy of a pre-sale estimate upwards of $150,000.

A pair of marble stela are dramatically carved with guardians clenching clubs and trampling beastly demons. At 22.5-inches tall and 12-inches wide, the Yuan Dynasty carvings are Lot 75, estimated at more than $6,000.

Additionally, Gianguan has gathered an excellent collection of moderately valued modern and contemporary paintings for this sale. Twentieth Century master Xu Beihong (1895-1953), one of the first to reflect a renewed China in his works of animals, is represented by “Two Racing Stallions.” The 1942 work is probably a metaphor for the competitiveness of nations. It is signed and bears one artist seal. It is Lot 70 valued at upwards of $40,000.

Yu Feian’s “Spring Budding” offers hope with a realistic portrayal of daffodils, peony and a cawing magpie. Influenced by the realism of Western artists, Yu Feian added a purely historical twist with “slender gold” calligraphy in the manner of Song Emperor Huizong. This is Lot 122, starting at $15,000.

A perennial favorite, Zisha teapots from famous makers dot the auction. Perhaps the most conceptual is contemporary Master of Chinese Art Wang Yinxian’s angled pot with slip moulded squirrels that appears to float on its recessed tree-trunk base (Lot 272). The oldest is Ming master Hui Meng Chen’s compact teapot with applied mountainous landscape and inscription (Lot 261). Among the Gu Jingzhou teapots is an unusual black basket weave pot with moulded bamboo handle and spout (Lot 285). Most of the teapots are signed and bear artists’ seals. The teapots have catalog estimates of $500-$2,000. It should be noted that the popularity of Zisha teapots has seen several soar recently to as high as 13 times above estimate.

A collection of Chinese seals, once again favored by Chinese businessmen and students, reflects Gianguan Auctions lead position in the field. Lot 4, a large Tianhuang stone seal with a fantastical dragon-tortoise knop, 5’ tall, weighing 4 pounds. Lot 23, a pair of crow-skin Shoushan seals with bas relief landscape motifs. Weighing slightly over a pound each, the irregularity in size (4” and 4.5”) is a natural feature. Lot 8 is a minimalistic columnar seal of red Ji Xue
(chicken blood stone) with white inclusions. Estimates on the seals run from $500-$2,000.

For details on all the fine consignments in Gianguan Auctions upcoming December 9 sale, please view the catalog at The properties are also on and Condition reports may be obtained by contacting the Gallery Director at info(at)gianguanauctions(dot)com or calling (001) 212 867-7288. The auction will be conducted live at Gianguan Auctions, 39 W. 56th Street, New York, NY starting at 10 a.m..

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