The phalanx of Chinese buyers beating the brush in the hinterlands looking for Chinese works of art deposited there generations ago descended on Boston earlier this month. Antiques and Arts Online gives the details behind Skinner’s $6.1m sale:
an Eighteenth Century carved bamboo brush pot brought a record $539,500 at Skinner’s June 2–4 Asian arts sale. The 6-inch pot was carved in detail with Immortals in a mountain landscape, with figures and animals, gnarled pines and rocky outcrops.
Inscribed and bearing a dated guichou year, the brush pot rested on a wood stand carved with pines, lingzhi heads and waves. The pot was consigned by an upstate New York woman who inherited it from her grandmother, whose collection was replete with objects bearing Victorian-era paper tags. It sold to a Chinese dealer in the gallery.
Thirty lots later, an Eighteenth Century rhinoceros horn libation cup was offered. Carved with gnarled pine branches, it brought $325,000 from a Chinese dealer. It had come from the collection of a woman planning her daughter’s wedding and uncertain about how to fund it. Looks like a gala celebration is in the works.
The next lot was another Eighteenth Century rhinoceros horn libation cup, this one a 2½-inch example carved with lotus flowers, leaves and reeds, and a crab beneath a leaf. It realized $88,875, while a lacquered bamboo libation cup carved with chi dragons went to $13,025.
Skinner Asian expert James F. Callahan delivered another record-breaking sale, with a total of $6.1 million. The Chinese trade was out in force in the Boston gallery, eager and patient for the 1,600 lots spread across three days. Bidders in the gallery used their cellphones and Skype to communicate with buyers in China and other international points, while their online counterparts were active and telephone bidders drew a full bore of house phones.
Brush Pot Is Hot At $539,500 At Skinner’s Asian Arts Auction (Antiques and the Arts Online)