Alms Bowls from the Kangxi period of the Qing Dynasty, depict dragons clambering up from deeply carved thick clouds (est. $120/150,000). The design of the bowls is related to a massive jade vessel from the Yuan dynasty that has been mentioned as one of the wonders of the Mongol world, having been discovered by the Qianlong emperor in a temple where it was being used as a storage container.
Featured in this season’s selection of classical and modern ink paintings are two extremely rare works by the 17th Century individualist artist Bada Shanren (16261705) neither of which has appeared on the market for over 25 years. Two Mynas on a Rock painted in 1692 is a masterful depiction of two birds that is filled with layers of meanings and symbolism (est. $400/600,000). Bada painted the work in the early years of the new Qing Dynasty, a period that must have been difficult for the artist as a Ming loyalist. Mynas are known for their mocking calls so the choice of them as the painting’s subject hints at Bada’s disapproval of the new Chinese rulers. The artist had been forced to flee to a Buddhist temple in 1648 after his hometown of Nanchang was occupied by Manchus, who had formed the new Qing Dynasty. Bada was greatly influenced by Chan Buddhism as can be seen in his paintings, poetry and calligraphy from the period; in the present work the empty space around, and particularly above, the birds and rock suggest a deep understanding of the Buddhist ideas on the nature of emptiness and space.
Of the 179 known works by Bada, 167 were created between 1684 and 1705, the year he died –Two Mynas On a Rock is therefore from the middle of this golden period of creativity. The bold brushstrokes used to depict the birds and the slightly fainter color used for the rock create a compelling composition with a floating rock on which the gazing birds sit. This ability to use simple forms to express complicated ideas sets Bada apart from the artists that went before him and is a mark of his influence on future generations of Chinese painters.
Calligraphy in Xing Shu (Running Script) After Zhong yao’s “Zhang Le Tie” is a further highlight by Bada Shanren in the sale (est. $100/150,000). It was painted late in his career at a time when his calligraphy had significantly evolved. The work was formerly in the Collection of Wang Fangyu (1913-1997), a prominent scholar and collector of Bada Shanren.
Another painting that is fresh to the market is Scholar by Zhang Daqian, a painting that was once in the Collection of Xu Shihao, a famous lawyer and friend of the artist and which has not been offered at auction for over 50 years (est. $120/180,000). The painting shows a delicately painted figure holding a cane whose robes sway gently in the breeze. The work was created in 1950 in Hong Kong and has similarities to other paintings from