INDEXMy highlight of 2015 — the list in fullRead more
Choosing a favourite object for 2015 is a particularly difficult task, as our New York Chinese Works of Art team was privileged to handle a distinguished group of private collections this year. However, when forced to choose, my personal selection has to be a rare blue and white vase, dated to 1664, which was part of a special single-owner sale entitled An Era of Inspiration: 17th-Century Chinese Porcelains from the Collection of Julia and John Curtis.
Comprising porcelains all dating to the mid-late 17th century, the Curtis collection was a specialist’s dream to handle and research. The sale offered collectors a glimpse of a rare era of creativity enjoyed by the Chinese potters because of a short lapse of imperial control at the Jingdezhen kilns.
A rare blue and white dated Gu-form vase, early Kangxi period, dated 1664. 15 ¾ in. (40 cm.) high. Estimate: $25,000-35,000. Sold for: $118,750 on 16 March at Christie’s New York
The vase is decorated on the upper register with a beautifully painted scene that epitomizes the spirit of the period, as we see the narrative and lyrical nature of the landscape unroll around the surface of the vase. The scene depicts a lone scholar on horseback in a wooded landscape, followed by an attendant carrying his books. It is accompanied by a poetic inscription describing the importance of these books to the scholar, as well as his journey to the capital where he expects his verse to rival that of a famous poet.
The true freedom enjoyed by the painter was made even clearer to us when we photographed the vase and ‘rolled out’ the scene, revealing the scroll-like quality of the work.
The collection as whole generated a deal of interest from Western and Chinese collectors alike, and my favourite vase achieved over four times its low estimate.
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