Sotheby's Asian Art Auction in Paris June 14th On June 14 Sotheby’s will stage their first-ever sale in Paris devoted exclusively to Asian art, featuring 182 lots from (mainly European) private collections
ageless longevity (lot 142, estimate €60,000/80,000); and a pair of small 18th century Qing jars with the Chenghua hallmark, estimate €50,000/70,000 (lot 156).
A series of monochrome items reflect the style of porcelain prevalent under the three most important 18th century Qing emperors: a Kangxi covered potiche vase and dish in yellow glaze porcelain, respectively estimated at €8000/10,000 and €1500/2000 (lots 132 et 133); a bottle-vase with the Yongzheng hallmark, with the blue glaze typical of that emperor (estimate €6000/8000, lot 124 – see illustration); and four pieces (bowls, plate and bottle vase) with sang de boeuf glaze and the Qianlong hallmark, owned by the same family for several generations, with estimates starting at €1000 (lots 128-130).
A classic Qing bianhu pilgrim flask in blue-and-white porcelain (Qianlong Period, 1736-95) is likely to fire fierce bidding, and has an estimate of €60,000/80,000 (lot 182 – see illustration).
One of the stand-out Chinese works of art should be a monumental Tang stone sculpture portraying a seated Buddha in a traditional monk’s robe (height 3ft 9in/1.15m). The finesse and precision of the facial traits, and the naturalistic folds and relief treatment of the wavy hair, make this a rare example of the Tang style (lot 71, estimate €300,000/350,000 – see illustration). The story of Buddha and his miracles brought new iconographical and artistic conventions to China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Buddhist sculpture developed its own style, inspired by Indian codes; figures became incredibly natural and well-proportioned, in contrast to the rigid, static appearance of earlier Buddhist statuary.
The sale also includes a number of 16th-19th century Sino-Tibetan gilt-bronze statuettes, including a finely detailed 17th century Tibetan figure of a Dharma king in multi-layered robes, seated on a platform with his hands joined together, bearing the inscription Indian God Dharma, happiness, glory, virtue, prosperity (lot 123, estimate €60,000/80,000).
A 19th century Qing imperial embroidery, that has belonged to the same family since the sack of the Summer Palace in Beijing in 1860, is expected to bring €30,000/50,000 (lot 79 – see illustration). It is in perfect condition and will enchant all those who love the building – listed as a UNESCO world heritage site thanks to its ‘exceptional expression of the creative art of Chinese landscape gardening.’
The sale ends with a superb album of twenty 18th century engravings commemorating Emperor Qianlong’s conquests in Central Asia: an imperial commission evoking battle scenes, sieges, camps and banquets, as well as processions and ancient rituals (lot 181, estimate €15,000/20,000 – see illustration). This rare ensemble, owned by the same French family for several generations, is the smaller, second edition (1783-86) of the version commissioned by Emperor Qianlong from the engraver Helman. The original version (1783-85) ran to 16 prints, while the third (1783-88) comprised 24.
In 1765 Qianlong sent to France to order copper engravings based on drawings of his Oirat campaign (1755-59). Charles-Nicolas Cochin (1715-90), a member of the Royal Academy of Painting & Sculpture, was put in charge of the project; his