Ancient Chinese Pottery Comes to Beverly Hills Han and Tang Dynasty potters met patron's requests with figures that range from the erotic to the comic. An unusual collection is coming to auction at Beverly Hills' I.M. Chait Gallery on November
News-Antique.com - Nov 10,2009 - BEVERLY HILLS, CA. In light of Fall ’09’s soft results at Christie’s and Bonham’s in London, collectors of fine Asian Arts should re-direct their attention to Beverly Hills, California where I.M. Chait is poised to offer more than 400 lots of exceptional Chinese and Japanese art on November 15. The collections are directed at both mid-level collectors and high-level connoisseurs seeking good and realistically priced investments.
I.M. Chait’s sale leads with an extensive collection of Han and Tang Dynasty ritual pottery figures, now on view at www.chait.com.
The exhibit of the First Emperor’s ritual figures that criss-crossed America this past year re-ignited interest in this increasingly popular collecting category. Like the Ancient Emperor’s figures, the I.M. Chait offerings represent the full range of human endeavor and emotion as manifested in horses, camels, figures and more.
From the Han Dynasty, comes a remarkably unusual erotic couple. Lot 252 is comprised of two smiling Sichuan pottery figures partially dressed in simple robes and lying down. The male figure holds a male genital replica in his upraised hand. Each about 27-inches long, the erotic figures are estimated at a high of $35,000.
Another set of Sichuan pottery figures, Lot 252, portrays a cook and a merchant each kneeling and each holding the tools of their trade. The smiling cook holds a knife above a spread of delicacies. The similarly smiling merchant holds a single fish. Nearly two feet tall, the set is expected to fetch around $25,000.
Chait’s marquee lot (246) dates to the prosperous Tang Dynasty and captures the sometimes-comic relationship between beast and burden. Portrayed are striding Bactrian camels (domesticated in Bactria on the Afghan-Soviet border) caught in the open-mouthed act of expressing clear displeasure of their load. Perhaps it is the girth of the burden—mustached men in pointed caps and pointed shoes, seated on saddle blankets and balancing between bulging saddlebags—that have set them off. Nearly three feet tall, the set retains significant pigment and is expected to command in excess of $40,000.
Tang horses, portrayals of the Near Eastern imports that were one-time emblems of Chinese wealth and power, make a strong showing in the sale. Lot 247 is an early pair of red pottery horses in rare stance. Unlike the usual portrayals, these horses are depicted with legs spread and heads down, as if grazing or at a water hole. With much pigment remaining, the 22-inch pair carries a catalog estimate of $30,000 or more.
Four Tang Court Lady Equestrians comprise Lot 248. These plump-faced beauties, with upswept hair and wearing extremely long sleeved robes, are well animated in the act of playing polo. Their mounts, with finely painted manes and ornamental bridles, are symbolic of the Tang Dynasty’s clear sense of leisure in a time of high cultural contributions. This set is well valued in the $30,000 range.
For entry-level collectors, the sale features a Tang terracotta horse and groom, (Lot 257) and a Sancai pottery glazed horse with rider (Lot 256).
The auction is also strong