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An unprecedented series of Asian Art auctions in New York

New York sales achieve the highest-ever total for the auction series — a remarkable $332,783,188 — doubling the previous record and achieving five times the pre-sales estimate

Christie’s Asian Art Week sales realised $332,783,188 (£272,497,754 / €312,222,516 / HK$2,573,500,630), the highest total ever achieved for the auction series, signalling Christie’s continuing leadership in the market. Seven auctions took place from 15-17 March, attracting bidders from 37 countries, with deep bidding from buyers in mainland China. Highlights of the sales included classical Chinese painting, huanghuali and zitan furniture, as well as archaic bronzes.

The week was led by the record-breaking evening sale Important Chinese Art from the Fujita Museum, which realised $262,839,500. Strong results were also witnessed for notable private collections, including The Marie Theresa L. Virata Collection of Asia, which totalled $25,352,750, with 95 per cent sold by lot; The Harris Collection: Important Early Chinese Art, which totalled $1,101,250, with 93 per cent sold by lot; and The Ruth and Carl Barron Collection of Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles: Part IV, which totalled $841,668, with 100 per cent sold by lot.

Chen Rong (13th century) as catalogued in Shiqu Baoji, Six Dragons. Handscroll, ink on paper. Painting 13½ x 173⅜ in (34.3 x 440.4 cm). Calligraphy 13⅞ x 32⅝ in (35.1 x 82.8 cm). Sold for $48,967,500 in the Important Chinese Art from the Fujita Museum sale on 15 March 2017 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Center
Chen Rong (13th century) as catalogued in Shiqu Baoji, Six Dragons. Handscroll, ink on paper. Painting: 13½ x 173⅜ in (34.3 x 440.4 cm). Calligraphy: 13⅞ x 32⅝ in (35.1 x 82.8 cm). Sold for $48,967,500 in the Important Chinese Art from the Fujita Museum sale on 15 March 2017 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Center

Records were set across multiple categories. The top lot of the series was Chen Rong’s Six Dragons, from Important Chinese Art from the Fujita Museumwhich sold for $48,967,500 and established a new record for a Chinese painting sold outside Asia. In the same sale, the world auction record for an archaic bronze was set when the bronze ritual wine vessel, fangzun, from the late Shang dynasty, sold for $37,207,500. In the Himalayan, Indian and South East Asian Art auction the world auction record for an Indian and South Asian work of art was achieved with the sale of a 900-year-old black stone figure of Lokanatha (Avalokiteshvara) from Pala-period India, which realized $24,663,500.

Highlights of the Marie Theresa L. Virata sale included a very rare 16th-17th century huanghuali circular incense stand, Xiangji, which sold for $5,847,500 / HK$ 45,193,037 against a high estimate of $600,000. A flambé-glazed vase, Qianlong mark and of the period (1736-1795), which sold for $223,500, and an Imperial yellow-glazed cup, Yongzheng mark and of the period (1723-1735), which fetched $271,500, both had high estimates of $50,000. 

A magnificent and highly important bronze ritual wine vessel, fangzun. Late Shang dynasty, Anyang, 13th–11th century B.C. 20⅝ in (52.4 cm) high, gold and silver-inlaid wood stand, Japanese double wood box. Sold for $37,207,500, achieving a world auction record for an archaic bronze, in the Important Chinese Art from the Fujita Museum sale on 15 March 2017 at Christie’s in New
A magnificent and highly important bronze ritual wine vessel, fangzun. Late Shang dynasty, Anyang, 13th–11th century B.C. 20⅝ in (52.4 cm) high, gold and silver-inlaid wood stand, Japanese double wood box. Sold for $37,207,500, achieving a world auction record for an archaic bronze, in the Important Chinese Art from the Fujita Museum sale on 15 March 2017 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Center
A magnificent and highly important bronze ritual wine vessel, fanglei. Late Shang dynasty, Anyang, 13th–11th century B.C. 25 in (63.5 cm) high, gold and silver-inlaid wood stand, Japanese double wood box. Sold for $33,847,500 in the Important Chinese Art from the Fujita Museum sale on 15 March 2017 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Center
A magnificent and highly important bronze ritual wine vessel, fanglei. Late Shang dynasty, Anyang, 13th–11th century B.C. 25 in (63.5 cm) high, gold and silver-inlaid wood stand, Japanese double wood box. Sold for $33,847,500 in the Important Chinese Art from the Fujita Museum sale on 15 March 2017 at Christie’s in New York, Rockefeller Center

Jonathan Stone, Chairman of Asian Art, commented: ‘This was an historic week for Christie’s and for Asian Art. There was an extraordinary response to the significant institutional and private collections included this season, with exceptional prices realised for Shang and Zhou dynasty ritual bronzes, classical Chinese paintings from the Fujita Museum, and the huanghuali and zitan furniture from the Virata collection.
 
‘It was rewarding to see the sustained enthusiasm from the international tour and exhibitions translate into the saleroom,’ Stone continued. ‘The robust results of this week have proven the benefits of Christie’s strong relationships with Asian buyers and the success of Christie’s dynamic strategy in the region, which has seen us open major exhibition spaces in Shanghai and Beijing in recent years.’

A flambé-glazed bottle vase, circa 1800. Sold for $223,500. A very rare huanghuali circular incense stand, Xiangji, 16th-17th century. Sold for $5,847,500 in The Marie Theresa L. Virata Collection of Asian Art A Family Legacy on 16 March 2017 at Christie’s in New York. Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Infinity-Nets WAASSO, 2008. This work is available through
A flambé-glazed bottle vase, circa 1800. Sold for $223,500. A very rare huanghuali circular incense stand, Xiangji, 16th-17th century. Sold for $5,847,500 in The Marie Theresa L. Virata Collection of Asian Art: A Family Legacy on 16 March 2017 at Christie’s in New York. Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Infinity-Nets WAASSO, 2008. This work is available through Post-War and Contemporary Art Private Sales

An online sale, The Art of China, continues until 29 March. A special sale for the spring season, it features more than 170 ceramics, jade and hardstone carvings, textiles, paintings, bronze and Buddhist sculptures from across the centuries. The sale also features a group of more than 30 Ming and Qing dynasty porcelains from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, being sold to benefit its art acquisitions fund. Estimates start from $400.