News-Antique.com - Nov 06,2010 - AUSTIN, Texas – With Asian art currently dominating the headlines in nearly every antiques trade publication, the timing is 10 out of 10 for Austin Auction Gallery’s Nov. 21 sale featuring a superb 38-lot collection of early Chinese jade. Amassed primarily in the 1970s by a U.S. Army colonel posted in Japan and later Vietnam, the collection contains purchases made during the officer’s extensive travels throughout the Orient.
“The colonel and his wife had a great appreciation for Asian cultures, and collecting jade and ivory carvings, wood carvings and other Asian art became a lifelong hobby,” said Ross Featherston, owner of Austin Auction Gallery. “Among the countries they visited while living in Asia were China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Nepal. The pieces they acquired were displayed and enjoyed for many years.”
The most intriguing entry in the sale is a 19th-century Chinese pale celadon jade carving of two crickets atop a cabbage. The 3.25-lb., 6½-inch-long carving was crafted to a very high standard and detailed to perfection, down to the bas-relief veins visible on the cabbage’s peeled-back “leaves.”
In the course of cataloging the jade collection, Austin Auction consulted with two high-profile experts on Asian art. It was the opinion of both specialists that the cabbage, from the late Qing/early Republic period, is “quite exceptional – a premier piece of jade,” Featherston said. The lot is estimated at $3,000-$5,000, although Featherston noted that its value is “anybody’s guess, since we have not been able to find any records of a similar piece for comparison. We think collectors will view this as a very exciting discovery.”
Standing 18 inches tall, a spinach-green Chinese jade carving modeled as Guanyin depicts the deity on a lotus-draped platform in front of a full-length pierced screen ($2,000-$4,000). Another key lot is a Chinese lotus-form double brush washer carved from translucent agate. Dating to the mid Qing Dynasty, the 3-inch piece is carved with lotus leaves serving as two separate bowls, adorned with flowers and birds along the rim of the bowl. The auction estimate is $2,000-$4,000.
The Nov. 21 auction includes rare and outstanding examples from several other categories of fine and decorative art and furniture. Dated 1875, a three-part hand-colored folk manuscript is, in actuality, an illustrated youth diary created by siblings Johnathan and Catharine King of Lancaster County, Pa. Twenty-five of the diary’s 42 pages are profusely decorated with the children’s fraktur paintings of flowers, wagons, animals, farm and kitchen implements. Contained in a “Ciphering Book” published by Reuben Chambers, Bethania, Pa., the diary also includes four pages of mathematics inscribed by Jonathan King, and hand-written accounts of the children’s daily activities, with their chores including milking cows and washing dishes. Offered with decorative calling cards for both Johnathan and Catharine King, the lot is expected to make $2,000-$4,000.
Other American highlights include a 1914 Newcomb College vase created by Joseph Meyer and with the cipher of decorator Henrietta Bailey (estimate $4,000-$6,000); and a scarce 84-inch oak hall